Tips & Checklists for Selecting the Right Benefits Administration Provider

Woman reviewing checklist

Previously, we shared a few signs that you may need to consider a new benefits administration provider. Once you’ve determined you need a new solution, it’s time to determine what you should look for in a provider and kick off your search. We’ve put together a few tips and checklists to help you navigate this next step of your journey – take a look below.

Identifying your organization’s needs

As you start your search for a new provider, make a comprehensive list of your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. To do this, take some time to identify your current pain points, and then document what your ideal experience would be like. As you do so, remember to consider any expensive, time-consuming, or risky operating processes that can be automated.

Between these exercises, you should be able to uncover what features and services you need from a new provider to resolve your current administration and enrollment challenges, and what you would like to have to enhance your experience even further. As you compile your own list, review this list of a few essentials we’ve put together to help:

  • Best-in-class technology: Choose an industry-leading provider with a solution that integrates well with your core HCM or payroll system.
  • Cybersecurity first: Cisco and Cybersecurity ventures found that the healthcare industry experienced 2-3x more data breaches than any other industry last year. The provider you select should have a strong understanding of healthcare information security and the infrastructure to match.
  • Experienced with clients like you: Narrow your consideration to providers that have extensive experience serving organizations of your size, market segment and needs.
  • Designed to handle complexity: Ensure that the provider is flexible and innovative enough to handle complex benefit rules and is capable of developing solutions for your unique requirements.
  • Dedicated team: Confirm that the providers you are considering will have an internal team dedicated to your organization throughout the entirety of your experience.
  • Financially stable: Ensure that all providers under consideration are financially stable and have exhibited a pattern of healthy growth over the past several years.

Identifying your Timeline

One additional key consideration is aligning with your provider on timing. Best practice is to give yourself plenty of time so you do not end up with a rushed implementation or have to sacrifice time once the system is live for additional training and further customizations before you next open enrollment begins. Ideally going live with your new system mid-year between your open enrollments will help ensure you are well prepared and comfortable with your new system before your next big event.  As you narrow down providers, confirm that they can meet your timeline for the launch of your new solution. Here are a few factors to consider which may influence your launch date:

  • Enrollment type: Based on your previous enrollment participation and data, determine whether an active, semi-passive or passive enrollment would be most effective for your employee population.
  • Organizational priorities: Convene with your organization’s leadership team to determine any major projects your team and organization has coming up over the next year.
  • Current contracts: Identify all relevant vendor contracts you currently have which you will no longer be requiring and their end dates. This may include IT, payroll and any HRIS vendors. The launch of your new solution may depend on when these relationships will expire.
  • Health and benefit plan setup: Similarly, the timing of your launch may depend on how soon you are able to have your plans, rates and summary plan descriptions prepared.

We hope you find these tips and checklists helpful as you narrow down potential benefits administration providers. Once you have identified the provider who best meets your organization’s needs and have contracted with them, the next steps in your journey are the implementation and launch of your new solution. We’ll discuss these final steps in the third and final part of this series, coming up soon. In case you missed part 1, access it here!

Learn more about Tracey Eisman of bswift and Kate Taylor of Benefit Technology Resources on LinkedIn.

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What to Expect: Implementation and Launch of Your New Benefits Administration Solution