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What is a Benefits Administration Platform?

What is a Benefits Administration Platform?

A benefits administration platform is a software system that manages employer-sponsored benefits for employees—and, in some cases, can be managed by employees themselves. Not only do these systems streamline common HR administrative tasks, but they can automate eligibility for benefits, empower users to make benefits elections, and give users the opportunity to enroll in health insurance and ancillary options.

Find out how this technology works, why employers should use it, and how to adopt a system.


Benefits Administration Technology Explained

Benefits administration technology automates the traditional employee benefits selection and management process. Instead of filling out paperwork to select employer-sponsored benefits, employees can make selections using a digital system that automatically enrolls them in coverages once approved. 

Typically, employees select benefits during open enrollment, when they join a company, or when they experience a qualifying life event. Common types of benefits offered by employers include: 

  1. Healthcare coverage
  2. Life insurance
  3. Dental and vision insurance
  4. Short- and long-term disability insurance
  5. Identity theft protection
  6. Pet benefits


Why Use a Benefits Administration Software? 

Benefits administration software offers several different benefits to employers, employees, and HR. These include:

  1. Time Savings: Employers with paper benefits administration can spend up to an hour per enrollee completing tasks such as duplicate data entry, answering employee questions, and preparing benefit packets. However, paper benefits administration isn’t just more time consuming for HR—employees and brokers feel the burden as well. Benefits software speeds this process for everyone involved. 
  2. Reduce Errors: Online benefits administration automates data entry, which significantly decreases mistakes made when reading forms and completing other processes manually. In addition, the data collection process is integrated with carriers, which also drastically reduces the opportunity for error.
  3. Convenience and Satisfaction: Online benefits administration allows employers, employees, and other stakeholders to access benefit information at any time and from any place. This empowers employees to include others in the decision-making process, update their own benefits when qualifying life events occur, and even answer their own questions.
  4. Benefits Analysis: At any given time, an employer can monitor and track the progress of their open enrollment from one teammate to the next.
  5. Enhanced Transparency: With real-time costs calculations, employees can determine how much their benefits will cost per pay period—and even how much employers will commit to contribute each paycheck. 

Benefits administration software can do more than streamline open enrollment. When paired with other HRIS functions, these platforms can make onboarding smoother—which can improve retention—help you recruit and hire the best candidates, and even shape your company culture in a more meaningful way. 


HRIS Platforms and Benefits Administration Software 

Robust benefits platforms can be used as standalone services or as part of a human resources information system (HRIS). Health insurance touches so many parts of HR that it's becoming more common to see single software platforms that handle both benefits and HR administration.

When offered as part of a package of key features, benefits administration technology can make HR's role more strategic and more valuable. Other HRIS offerings can include:

  1. Time and attendance tracking
  2. Paid time off (PTO)
  3. Applicant tracking system (ATS)

How to Find the Right Employee Benefits Software in Eight Steps

There's more to finding the right employee benefits software than simply selecting the option that best fits your team's budget. Use the following eight steps to select the best employee benefits platform for your organization:

  1. Identify a Champion: This is someone at your company who spearheads research and the adoption of the technology.
  2. Pick Your Priorities: What is most important to your company? What in particular is driving this change?
  3. Identify Your Options: Compile a list of three to four vendors that seem to fulfill your criteria.
  4. Compare Products: Dig into the features, customer support, pricing, training, and scalability offered by each solution.
  5. Request Product Demos: Contact the vendors on your list and request demos of their products—and don't forget to ask questions.
  6. Narrow the Field: Discuss with your team and narrow your choice down to one or two options. Write down all your questions and concerns for each solution.
  7. Make a Final Comparison: Compare options and select a final vendor from your short list.
  8. Begin the Contract Process: Once the paperwork is completed, you can now begin the training, implementation, and roll-out processes.

HR Software Tools for 2021

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