As health care costs continue to rise and compliance requirements intensify, correctly navigating the complex maze of employee benefits is essential. There is a need for a trusted advisor with experience and who is a degreed/credentialed with knowledge to help companies from small to large design, implement and administer strategic insurance and employee benefits programs to advance business goals and meet employee benefits coverage and retirement needs.
Implementation and managing comprehensive, cost-effective human resource programs will help a company to meet it’s specific business goals. A business should receive timely expert support and personalized service to ensure the selection of a benefits program that will be right for the plan sponsor and its participants.
Management of the entire scope of plan design and administration is required to allow for uninterrupted plan coverage for the company’s employee participants. Help with all applications for new coverage should be received, termination procedures from previous carrier to new carrier should be coordinated, and employee communications and administration protocols for new enrolees implemented. The flow chart below illustrates an implementation process for just one employee benefit option of flexible spending accounts.
Every solution will be tailored to help each client maintain leadership status as an employer of choice. Expert design and customize comprehensive plans will be achieved that balance the need to control costs while accommodating specific plan requests and unique employee situations through a robust benefit offering. This service should be offered without being focused on a specific product to sell for commissions.
Consulting clients will be provided with customized and comprehensive solutions for employee benefits needs from medical, dental, and disability insurance to profit sharing plans, 401(k), 403(b)/457, pension and actuarial services for complex cash balance or defined benefit plans..
By approaching market benchmarking data employers are provided a standard to compare current benefit programs. Recommendations then should be made to help clients enhance plans while at the same time remaining competitive and reducing overall plan costs.
Valuable benefit trend statistics and surveys are one of the core pieces of information that can be provided to help clients support benefit plan design strategy and decisions.
When the project is completed the following strengths will be realized:
• Every benefit plan offered will have been reviewed, analyzed, and corrected for benefit coverage gaps and overlapping coverages. The goal to develop an employee benefits plan to meet the need for the recruitment and retention of talented and valuable personnel will be met.
• Management will be meeting the fiduciary responsibility to keep the plans compliant with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and IRS regulations. The plan sponsor and employer will understand how to manage the day-to-day operations of their employee benefit plans.
• Management will have established their confidence that a comprehensive, cost-effective human resource programs are in place to meet a company’s specific business goals and to attract top talent to the company.
• A RFP process will have established and implemented to identify and take into account the various vendors and providers experience and expertise, including the vendors credentials and access to market alternatives. The process will not end with just an award letter. Management will know how to collaborate with the awarded vendors to agree on the price, delivery, processes, payment terms and warranties in the agreement. Vendor agreements will be understood after a thorough review process implemented by management.
• A communication program will have been developed and implemented to communicate the benefits in a manner that the employees and participants can appreciate.
The mission is to receive timely expert support and personalized service to ensure the selection of a benefits program that is right for the plan sponsor and its participants. The goal is designing comprehensive plans that balance the need to control costs while accommodating specific plan requests and unique employee situations through a robust benefit offering. An approach to any project will be with the overall view of the company’s culture and goals of the company that will in the end result as a benefit from the service.
A systematic process is required to provide clients with timely expert support and personalized service. There is a multiple step process that is required and ordered to provide expert support and personalized service that will ensure the selection of a benefits program that is right for the plan sponsor and its participants.
Step 1 – Benefit Review – This first step has been developed with the objective to review current employee benefit programs and determine if the employee benefit program goals are being met. The goal is to develop an employee benefits plan that will meet the need for the recruitment and retention of talented and valuable personnel. An effective employee benefit program will help a company to maintain leadership status as an employer of choice.
Step 2 – Governance – The objective of governance is to help the prudent employer understand the need to administrator and manage the day-to-day operations of their employee benefit plans, whether the employer appointments a third party plan administrator or administers the plan in house. This step will alleviate and effectively minimizes liability exposure of the plan sponsor.
Step 3 – Plan Design – Benchmarking data is required to provide a standard to compare the benefit programs being implemented. Valuable benefit trend statistics and surveys are one of the core pieces of information needed to help support a specific benefit plan design strategy and decision. The plan design objective is to establish confidence that a comprehensive, cost-effective human resource programs are in place to meet a company’s specific business goals and to attract top talent to the company.
Cost Control Strategies being considered by Employers
Step 4 – RFP Process – Once the first three objectives have been met, and not before, it is time to begin the process of finding the best insurance coverages, asset investment dealers for the retirement plan, the agent of record for the insurance coverages, the financial advisor for the retirement plan/pension plan, and benefit plan administrator/recordkeeper that is available. The RFP process does not end with the final award letter, but then moves to the procurement negotiations. The company will need to collaborate with the awarded vendors to agree on the price, delivery, processes, payment terms and warranties in the agreement.
Step 5 – Communication – Communication of the benefit program is critical for the participants to receive and appreciate. Without a well developed communication program can undermine all of the work in Steps 1-4. When building a communication plan, there are key elements that always should be considered. Topics such as general education on the benefit features to be offered, who is eligible, and what contributions will be required via payroll deduction should be covered to help the participants determine how much coverage is proper for themselves and their family. Also, what supplemental benefits are appropriate under various circumstances and their family needs. Finally, what they will need to save to adequately prepare for retirement. The education should include where to go for investment education to prevent participants just putting money into cash assets during open enrollment.
Companies can elect whether they just require Appleton Greene for advice and support with the Bronze Client Service, for research and performance analysis with the Silver Client Service, for facilitating departmental workshops with the Gold Client Service, or for complete process planning, development, implementation, management and review, with the Platinum Client Service. Ultimately, there is a service to suit every situation and every budget and clients can elect to either upgrade or downgrade from one service to another as and when required, providing complete flexibility in order to ensure that the right level of support is available over a sustainable period of time, enabling the organization to compensate for any prescriptive or emergent changes relating to: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Information Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing; or Production.
An effective employee benefit program will help you maintain leadership status as an employer of choice. The service mission is to development and implement an effective plan(s) and a program appreciated by the employee participants of the program, while being a success for the employer. A foremost goal is to develop a strategic insurance and employee benefits programs to advance business goals and meet employee benefits coverage and retirement needs. Solutions that are tailored to help each client maintain leadership status as an employer of choice. In a recent survey 43% of HR leaders said the biggest challenge they face is budget restraints. With the rapid pace of inflation this challenge will only increase in the near foreseeable future. Additionally, 48% of employers were monitoring the situation and considering cost-saving measures to their benefits plans. 15% of employers have determined they must make moderate to significant cost-saving measures in their benefits plans in the near future.
The mission is to develop expert program designs and customized comprehensive plans that balance the need to control costs while accommodating specific plan requests and unique employee situations through a robust benefit offering. If the process and steps outlined within followed these goals will be met and the benefit program will be a success for the employer and appreciated by the employee participants.