managing benefits

#WorkTrends: How to Untangle Benefits Headaches

If you want to attract and keep a top-notch talent pool, employee benefits are more important than ever. But for company leaders and HR teams, benefits are also a huge headache.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Rachel Lyubovitzky, the CEO of EverythingBenefits. She calls benefits “the last frontier” in HR tech, and she thinks it’s high time we solve some of our biggest benefits headaches. Her team is on a mission to automate and streamline manual and paper-based benefits processes.

Making Compliance Easier

Here’s a word that will make pretty much anyone want to hide under their desk: compliance. Lyubovitzky gives COBRA compliance as an example. COBRA is the pre-internet law designed to ensure that employees who are on a group plan can keep their health coverage if they lose their job. “Because it is a pre-internet law, the compliance relies heavily on paperwork,” Lyubovitzky says. “However, technology takes the burden away from the employer and makes the compliance proactive versus reactive.”

For example, the right technology can detect potential compliance concerns and alert the employer, shortening the burdensome the COBRA compliance process to just a few seconds. Lyubovitzky says the key is to make sure your HR technology wraps around the business and the individual — not the other way around.

Reconciling Benefits and Controlling Costs

Reconciling benefits is another tedious process made easier by technology. “Benefits reconciliation is an automated way to check carrier invoices against the benefits enrollment data to highlight any billing irregularities,” Lyubovitzky says.

We’ve all heard horror stories about companies that miss paying a premium, enroll an employee in the wrong plan or end up paying thousands of dollars for terminated or retired employees. “Obviously it’s awful when employees lose coverage or are enrolled in the wrong program, but it’s also a huge burden for the company,” she says. Imagine trying to track 1,000 employees and how much data you would need to compare each month.

“Benefits reconciliation makes this process completely automatic and, in addition to saving time and money, it’s a great tool to help companies avoid potential liability,” Lyubovitzky says.

Companies also struggle to understand and uncover hidden benefits costs. She points to new estimates that in 2019, benefits will cost employers $15,000 per employee per year. Some organizations may be paying benefits for employees who are no longer with the company, while others may be paying for family coverage for a single employee. “If this is happening with one or two employees it might not sound like a big deal, but imagine scaling that across a larger group of employees, and a longer timeframe.”

The Future of Employee Benefits

Lyubovitzky predicts that we’ll see benefits take on an increased prominence in years to come. Employers will use benefits as a key differentiator. Those benefits might take on new forms, she says, like flex work schedules, remote work, and richer benefit portfolios that include legal services, pet insurance, and tuition reimbursement.

Her key piece of advice for people who manage benefits? “Start by looking at what’s taking a lot of your time. What’s manual? Where are the errors coming from? What’s giving you a headache? And the look for solutions for optimizing. Automation is really the key in solving a lot of business problems.”

To learn more from Lyubovitzky and the EverythingBenefits team, read their new e-book, “Get Your Escalating Benefits Costs Under Control.

This episode of #WorkTrends is sponsored by EverythingBenefits.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.