Employee benefit advisors are a great source of knowledge to both employees and management, but what is expected of people in this role?
The role of the employee benefits manager and benefits advisor is to research and advise employees about which benefits are available to them as well, which ones are the most appropriate and help them decide which ones they can afford. An employee expects a complete, well rounded benefits package that can include a variety of benefits such as: health care, vision care, dental care, retirement planning and savings, flexible spending accounts, child care reimbursements,commuter benefits,paid time off and professional career developments. They also can handle employee monetary compensation, but this depends on the size of the organization. Although being paid for the work they do is the most important compensation for any employee, additional benefits packages are becoming more and more extensive and appealing to employees, especially in larger organizations. On the flip side, most employers are also aware that monetary compensation is not the only attraction to an employee accepting a position inside the organization. The benefits advisor is the person in the human resources department that can help employees make informed decisions about the choices they make when selecting a suitable benefits package.
The Main Areas the Benefits Advisor Can Help Employees
Administrative Help With Benefit Choices and Application Process
The benefits advisor is a specialist in the field of benefits therefore they are the person in the human resources department that should be the most knowledgeable to plan and implement a benefits package for new and active employees. The knowledge that they have about the benefits available will provide unbiased analysis to employees and assist them in matching employees with the correct benefits packages. The benefits advisor will also be able to assist in completing the enrollment process and paperwork.
Helping To Minimize Errors In The Application Process
The knowledge that an employee benefits manager has can help prevent errors in the enrollment process and eligibility requirements during the open enrollment period in companies. One of the most common errors that occurs is with the determination of eligibility. This is when an employee cannot get a certain coverage because of age, pre-existing conditions or double primary coverage problems. Employees who are eligible to join a plan should be given the opportunity to do so and it is within the purview of the benefits advisor to help get it. Equally important is that the benefit manager can help keep on top of important coverage dates, for example for employees who may be on leave, being terminated or changing status. Another area where errors may occur is in the claims process. On some occasions an extended health or dental claim may take longer than expected or be incorrect. Employees can reach out to the benefits manager to help resolve such issues. Sometimes employees will need to make unusual claims like out-of-country claims, claims for specialty drugs or disability and life insurance claims. These are all the times when employees may reach out to the benefits manager to assist them and expect them to provide assistance.
Education and Advice About Employee Benefits
The benefit managers role is a key link in keeping employees informed and educated about health and wellness benefits. The advisor can help employees by researching and being knowledgeable on government programs and legal requirements that can affect insurance packages. Insurers do not normally provide advice beyond the basic nuts and bolts and this is where the benefits advisor can help by researching employee questions and queries and then using their findings to educate and inform other employees.
Complex Situations The Benefits Advisor Can Help With
As well the the most popular concerns and questions about health and wellness benefits that employees may have for the benefits advisor, there are a number of other complex situations that the benefits advisor can help employees with:
- Help the employee successfully navigate their way through long term disability programs.
- Advise employers and employees on the guidelines for terminating an employee
- Be a useful resource in advice about parental leave laws
- Help the employer navigate through HR and legal issues.
Working with a benefits advisor can support the employee and the business through a variety of situations. Using the knowledge and advice of the benefits advisor can help protect the business and also help the employee navigate through complex plans and packages which otherwise would take away from the time an employee spends actually doing the job they are employed to do.
Are Health Insurance Benefits Important to an Employee?
By far the most important benefit to any employee is health insurance coverage. This is followed by retirement savings plans and then paid time off brings up the third most popular benefit. With health coverage being a top priority for the benefit team, organizations will put most of their budget into this benefit.