Employee Benefits Administration and Compliance
Employee benefit plan administration is no small job – especially for time-strapped small and mid-sized companies that often lack robust HR departments. Even if they are fully staffed, the task requires specialized expertise.
Without it, business owners could face legal non-compliance penalties and disgruntled employees frustrated by an ineffectual system.
Managing an employee benefits program generates an extensive, ongoing to-do list:
- Researching, evaluating and choosing a health insurance plan
- Annually reviewing options
- Effectively communicating benefit plan details to employees
- Enrolling employees
- Collecting premiums and getting them to the provider
- Paying claims and other bills
- Complying with applicable state and federal laws
- Handling changes in employees’ status, such as marriage or divorce, a spouse’s death, a child’s birth or a change in residence.
It’s a lot, to say the least – unless you utilize employee benefit plan services from certified professional employer organization (CPEO) Axcet HR Solutions. Axcet makes benefit plan administration turnkey by checking off all the action items listed above – and more.
Certified Axcet HR professionals:
- Consult with you to select plans that meet your needs
- Help you determine your plan contributions
- Ensure plans are competitive and customizable
- Efficiently and effectively manage all aspects of a benefits program on your behalf
- Deliver unmatched administrative expertise
- Provide easy online enrollment for employees
With Axcet, employee benefits in Kansas City are exponentially more manageable and advantageous for small and medium-sized firms.
Benefit plan design and procurement
The process of determining which benefits to offer can be daunting. Comparison shopping and research, both of which take a lot of time and industry knowledge, are keys to finding the package that best meets employees’ needs. But, exploring potential insurance providers, evaluating plans and finding one within budget is time-consuming, confusing and difficult.
Axcet’s employee benefit plan services include assessing the competitive landscape; comparing plans across providers to ensure your company can offer the most benefits for the budget you have available; and designing a program that is meaningful and cost-effective for you, your employees and their families.
Through careful analysis and expert benefit plan administration, we ensure that your company provides benefits that communicate that you care about your employees, their well-being and what they value – while simultaneously keeping costs in check.
Renewal management and negotiation
The annual health insurance renewal process is a critical period for both employers and employees.
During this time, companies and their staffs can tailor coverage based on circumstances that changed over the prior year. As examples, team members might add a dependent, while business owners could decide to change their plans’ offerings based on employee feedback.
Navigating these changes can be a heavy lift, especially when you consider that plan administrators also have to renegotiate plans year after year.
There are several ways, however, to make benefits affordable and the renewal process painless. Chief among them is relying on Axcet, a trusted CPEO, for benefit plan administration.
Axcet, the employee benefits expert in Kansas City, manages client companies’ renewals every year after reviewing their insurance plans and needs, evaluating market data to determine which products are competitive and completing a comparative analysis of costs and benefits offered. Armed with this information, Axcet’s certified HR professionals make benefit plan recommendations and leverage decades of experience and marketplace knowledge to negotiate competitive rates on your behalf.
The beauty of engaging Axcet for employee benefit plan services is that we work behind the scenes, so the annual renewal process for you is turnkey, seamless and cost-effective.
Employee eligibility/change tracking and processing
An essential element of benefits renewal management is determining employee benefits eligibility for new hires and managing status changes like marriages or children added to families – all of which Axcet handles as part of the annual renewal process. We track and send all of that information to insurance carriers, saving client companies countless hours and major inconvenience.
When small and mid-size business owners take on this responsibility in house, someone on staff must manage every change to employees’ status over the past year, as well as pay and reconcile all bills. With Axcet’s employee benefit plan services, employers save the cost of paying an employee to handle this tedious job – and alleviate the heavy administrative burden it presents. We track every change in status, collect premiums and pay providers.
Axcet adds any new employees to the plan and sets up automatic paycheck deductions for premium payments. If someone leaves a client company, Axcet adjusts the amount owed the provider.
Then, on an ongoing basis, we balance, reconcile and review employer accounts to ensure accuracy. When Axcet is at the helm of your benefit plan administration, you never have to worry about missing a premium payment deadline and can rest assured that correct payments are being made for you on time, every time.
Benefit plan communications and education
Misunderstood benefits don’t benefit anyone. It’s important to clearly communicate the details of each choice employees have. That’s no small task given that insurance coverage can be complex and involves jargon with which most people are unfamiliar. After all, most employees don’t “speak benefits.”
Neither, frankly, do most employers.
Imagine your relief when you know your CPEO’s employee benefit plan services have you covered. Our knowledgeable HR professionals conduct as many meetings as necessary to make sure all your employees understand their benefits options – even sitting down one-on-one with individuals who may have unique situations or extra questions.
We provide clear materials and explain all things benefits in simple language. Among our helpful communications tools is a visual side-by-side comparison of plan options, which makes it easier for employees to understand the differences between cost and coverage so they may elect the offerings that best meets their needs.
One of Axcet’s benefit plan administration priorities is to ensure every employee at each of our client companies feels informed enough to make the best insurance choices. This commitment, which helps your employees understand the value of your benefit plan and its role in keeping them and their loved ones healthy, also builds their loyalty to your organization.
We also use technology to simplify benefits. Our state-of-the art, online enrollment system makes it incredibly easy for employees to sign up for their preferred plans. The platform stores enrollment confirmations, benefits summaries and related costs, claims and other information, which is accessible to employees 24/7.
Employee claims assistance
Most of us have probably, at one time or another, been surprised when our insurance company rejects a claim for a cost we thought was covered. It can be frustrating and time-consuming to navigate the system and try to either get the decision reversed or understand why the claim was denied.
No one likes dealing with such situations. Employees who work for Axcet client companies never have to.
When claims are complex or don’t move smoothly through an insurance provider’s system, Axcet serves as an employee’s liaison. Our knowledgeable Kansas City employee benefits specialists step in as employees’ go-to resource, working individually with them and the provider. Your employees can contact us directly, and we can minimize the runaround that often results from trying to get answers through an insurance company’s customer service department. Axcet is equipped to make those calls and work through the insurance carrier’s structure.
Sometimes, we can resolve the situation without talking to anyone except the employee. For example, we might be able to simply clarify for an employee what expenses the insurance plan provides based on our comprehensive knowledge of your benefits. In some cases, employees might have forgotten or misperceived a particular benefit and what it covers.
Through it all, we maintain employee confidentiality and save company leadership from having to get involved in claims assistance. It’s just one more thing employers don’t have to worry about when they rely on Axcet for benefit plan administration.
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, includes numerous difficult-to-understand intricacies and is an administrative nightmare to follow – especially the health insurance eligibility and affordability criteria, which are key aspects of the massive law. Unless, that is, you work with Axcet for ACA help in Kansas City. Our ACA management services experts understand all the complexities of the ACA so you don’t have to. We regularly analyze your plan to ensure you’re always compliant.
Take the ACA’s primary directive that employers with 50 or more employees must offer affordable coverage to all their full-time workers or face hefty penalties. That can be trickier than it sounds, because the ACA designates a specific method of measurement to determine if employees are considered part-time.
Axcet takes this into account as we calculate eligibility for coverage, including managing variable hour tracking for part-timers. We also handle all ACA-required reporting, like Forms 1094 and 1095, which summarize the coverage employers provide.
One of the biggest ACA burdens for employers who don’t work with Axcet is conducting the affordability analysis, which means your plan must meet essential minimum requirements but also be affordable – per the ACA’s definition – based on the lowest-paid employee’s income.
If your head is spinning just reading about some of the Act’s complexities, remember that everything is painlessly handled when you use Axcet’s ACA management services. With our robust auditing and reporting tools, we have all the capabilities required to make sure you don’t run afoul of ACA requirements, saving you time, hassle and, potentially, large fines.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide workers with the opportunity to extend their group health coverage after they lose it due to status change, resignation, termination, divorce or other qualifying events. One of the most commonly outsourced HR services, COBRA and state continuation administration is expensive, requires careful recordkeeping and involves stringent deadlines employers must meet.
During the pandemic, employers faced even greater challenges when many had to lay off unprecedented numbers of employees all at once. Unaccustomed to managing COBRA requirements even on a lesser scale, many small businesses were overwhelmed with the demand. Our clients, however, had a partner that came alongside them to lift the weight of employee benefits compliance – just as we always do, pandemic or no pandemic.
For COBRA, Axcet takes care of all required notices and manages enrollees, premium collections and notifications. Our clients don’t have to worry about figuring out or explaining to anyone how to get COBRA insurance. We handle all of this, and more, for small and mid-sized firms, so they can focus on their core businesses.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act governs the use and protection of patient health information for healthcare providers, health plans and clearinghouses.
Axcet takes the utmost care when handling employees’ protected health information, and we help client companies make sure they do the same. Axcet’s HIPAA compliance services for Kansas City organizations include training anyone at our client companies who has access to colleagues’ health information on safe, compliant ways to manage that data.
We educate on HIPAA best practices and the importance of ongoing compliance. Revealing someone’s health information creates legal risks for a company. It also could result in the loss of employee trust and corporate reputational damage. That’s why we make sure our clients have all the tools they need to stay HIPAA compliant, which is infinitely easier when you partner with an HR expert like Axcet.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) governs certain aspects of retirement plans and group health plans maintained by employers in the private sector. ERISA protects the interests of employee benefit plans and their participants and requires employers or plan sponsors to provide detailed information and operate with transparency.
Any company that offers a retirement plan must meet plan management standards established by ERISA, as well as issue required notifications. The law, designed to protect employees’ retirement plan savings, assigns fiduciary management responsibilities, which is a juggernaut in and of itself.
Trying to manage ERISA compliance without fully understanding fiduciary responsibility and investing can be dangerous from a legal standpoint. Employers who try to handle it in-house without being deeply familiar with the governmental requirements risk being sued for breach of fiduciary duty.
ERISA compliance is a formidable task best left to the experts. Axcet’s employee benefit plan services include a highly qualified fiduciary committee that regularly monitors clients’ retirement plan investments and removes any that are failing to meet performance standards.
Benefit plan administration from Axcet protects you, your employees and their beneficiaries, so you stay ERISA-compliant while continuing to help your team prepare for retirement.
Healthcare benefits and compliance are complex. Employers are subject to a variety of labor laws and regulations that require them to disclose certain benefits information during an employment relationship and keep participants apprised of important details about their retirement and health plans.
These required benefits notices take numerous forms, and employers are not compliant unless they issue them precisely how and when laws dictate. There are reports required by the Affordable Care Act, as well as those for 401(k) plans, Medicare and COBRA, and many more that must be submitted on an ongoing basis.
When you work with Axcet, our employee benefit plan services experts maintain compliance in these areas for you and ensure you never miss a deadline.