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Coronavirus Update

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Dear valued friends, customers and partners,

During these challenging times, we wish all our clients, friends, family, and employees good health. We are all living through alterations of our daily routines, which are causing unique anxieties and health concerns across the country. As limitations and changes to our daily lives arise, we are working as hard as we can to avoid changes in our business. While even the near future is uncertain, our commitment to you is still strong.

To truly make it through the COVID-19 crisis, businesses will need to find ways to maintain operations until the virus passes. The CDC is providing guidance to reduce the size of events and gatherings, and that carries over to the workplace. While some businesses are temporarily closing their doors or restricting hours of operation, there are many that need more robust solutions. Fortunately, BeneChoice has the technology to keep our operations running and aid our clients in meeting their benefit enrollment and administration needs during these tough times.

Many companies are concerned about handling their benefits questions and managing their employees’ coverage options. Please know that our BeneChoice teams are here to help. We specialize in enrolling employees anywhere and at any time. On any normal week, BeneChoice’s Benefits Counselors support dozens of on-site enrollments for our customers all around the country. We can still support all those enrollments and more, even if we can’t come on site for a while. Our technology securely leverages the cloud, so we can easily and compliantly connect our highly trained Benefits Counselors virtually with your employees and continue to provide that personal touch necessary to help your employees make the right benefit choices.  Our services provide both a very important human touchpoint for employees in a difficult time and the ability to effectively manage your benefits programs on schedule when employees need those programs the most.  

Encourage your workforce to follow the guidance offered by professionals, and to seek help if needed. Remember, while businesses may be restricted, they can still be productive if owners and employees think strategically and stay as healthy and safe as possible.

If you would like more information about how BeneChoice can help transform your annual open enrollment you can review our video here.  

And as always do not hesitate to reach out to any of our team members if you have any questions about how we can help. We wish you the best.

Nash Skiles 

Co-Founder of BeneChoice Enrollment Solutions & Technology

benefits administration

Measuring a Benefits Administration Process’ Efficiency

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Administering benefits can be one of the biggest challenges that HR representatives face. Though it is a necessary process, benefits administration can easily become a headache. While it is impossible to guarantee an enrollment period that is free of issues, there are a handful of precautionary measures you can take. Measure the efficiency of your own process by exploring some of these common problems you might encounter down the line.

Education Is Crucial

A large chunk of problems experienced during an enrollment period comes from misinformation. Studies have shown that more than half of employees wind up enrolling in the wrong health plan for their needs because they are not properly educated on their options. While you do not need to spoon feed every detail to employees, you should organize an information session where people can voice questions or receive guidance.

Lack of Order

Benefits administration can also prove difficult when there is no centralized place for benefit information to be stored. When health insurance information is located on one server and 401(k) data on another, employees can easily forget where to go when they have questions. Investing in an integrated HR system can help solve this, as it compiles all relevant information into one app. Not only is this useful for the employees, but the features of these integrated systems can also make your job as an HR representative a lot easier.

Often, these programs will feature options that help you manually create a benefits plan each year with ease. In addition, you can explore features that will help you collect vital data, monitor elections and declines, and streamline your entire process.

Create a Simpler Process

The secret to a simple benefits administration process is thinking ahead and trying to stop problems before they begin. Explore your options with integrated HR systems and help educate employees about their benefits to improve efficiency along the way.

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The True Cost of Cancer

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Recent studies have revealed some startling information in regards to how much of a financial burden a cancer diagnosis can be to patients. Reports say that cancer health coverage can cost a patient roughly $90,000 on average. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is difficult enough and the price associated with combating cancer can make a bad situation much worse.

Though cancer has been a serious threat to people worldwide for many decades, new developments are always in the work. Unfortunately, these cutting-edge techniques often come with an even heftier price tag. While these numbers can be staggering, it is important to remember there are solutions worth considering.

Finding the best cancer health coverage can be difficult, but it is far from impossible. Cancer insurance is a type of policy that can help relieve policyholders of the financial burdens that come along with the intense, ongoing treatments associated with the disease. In many cases, the plans will pay cash indemnity benefits, which can allow the policyholder to use the cash toward medical bills, cost of living expenses, and anything else needed during this difficult time.

According to research, it is not uncommon for a person diagnosed with cancer to spend his or her entire life savings to combat the disease. What’s more, it is said that critical illnesses are responsible for more than half of all known bankruptcies in the country. These financial hits can make bouncing back from treatment difficult, as there is little-to-no money available for necessities. In order to avoid this, you want to think ahead and find a type of cancer insurance that can help you focus on care, rather than the costs.

To protect yourself and your finances, it is important to explore insurance options that will help you restore your health without destroying your savings. Look into your options for cancer health coverage and learn about how you can get the help you need in a sensible and affordable way.

voluntary benefits

How to Think Creatively About Voluntary Benefit Offerings

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One of the best ways to recruit and retain the best talent is through offering voluntary benefits. Some of these benefits include dental and vision insurance coverages, but some companies are thinking out of the box an offering unique benefits that suit their employees and the company culture. Two ways to improve think creatively about which ones you offer are to listen to their preferences and offer an understanding of the benefits.

Preferences

Some companies are offering new voluntary benefits by asking for employee preferences or by asking industry contacts for suggestions like pet insurance, gym benefits and informal paid time off plans. Using your existing employees as a brainstorming resource can give you ideas you may not think of otherwise as well as give you some insight into which struggles your personnel are facing. This can include everything from needing financial advice or help with student loans to ride-sharing programs and increased parking access.

Understanding

One common complaint that employees have about voluntary benefits is not understanding which insurance plans to choose or which benefits will be the best for them to take. If you offer one-on-one advice for choosing benefits as well as for problems such as saving for retirement or paying off student loans, then you can make a huge headway in increasing work satisfaction and company morale. This can take the form of electronic classes, a dedicated human resources contact or even routine or mandatory classes.

The more creatively you can think about voluntary benefit offerings, the better you can retain and recruit key personnel. As overall culture changes, so does the interest in unique voluntary benefit offerings such as help with student loans, pet insurance and more. You can find creative ideas by asking for employee preferences and offering classes to understand voluntary benefits offered.

How to Showcase Your Corporate Culture in Benefits Offerings

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A strong corporate culture is essential for employee retention. While there are many ways to boost your culture and show your employees they’re valued members of the team, one powerful way is through your benefits offerings. Discover how a customized benefits package can increase your employee retention and incentivize your employees today.

One way to improve your benefits offerings is to offer certain voluntary benefits and other non-traditional benefits in an off-cycle enrollment.  The certain benefit can be offered at any time of the year, rather than a single, short enrollment window. This gives each of your employee’s time to focus on these value-added benefits that often complement the core health insurance offering and provide a diverse offering for your diverse workforce.

Next, select the benefits that are proven to be valuable in your industry. Case studies, industry research, and personal surveys among your employees are excellent ways to determine the best benefits for your particular employees. Don’t invest in a program that doesn’t align with your company values or increase interest in your employees.

Finally, choosing a powerful branding tone and message is a great way to keep a consistent, positive corporate culture. Use the same phrases, titles and other branding details throughout your benefits packages to promote a unified culture and help your employees feel like their part of a unique and valuable team.

Whether you’re just getting ready to showcase your first benefits package or your company needs a way to change gears and offer a refreshing new take on their popular benefits, choose a system that promotes company culture, aligns with your values and meets the needs and desires of your employees. A strong benefits package is an essential way to attract new employees and retain your valued group of current employees. Leverage this strong corporate culture by continuing to grow your business and bring in the best talent in the industry.

The Advantages of Offering College Tuition Assistance in Worksite Benefits Programs

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With college tuition rising, scholarships and tuition benefits are becoming highly prized among individuals of all ages. If you’re looking for an excellent benefit to encourage your employees and draw in new ones, consider adding a worksite (voluntary) benefits package that can offer help fund employees kids’ education with college rewards tuition points.

When employees enroll they receive Tuition Rewards Points which increase each year they continue to be employed and enrolled. Each tuition reward is a guaranteed one dollar reduction in tuition at any participating college.

This benefit is typically available for your employees or anyone in their family, such as children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews. There are a couple of options with these plans, some are tied to retirement balances, others simply add a flat amount of tuition reward points for every child, every year.

The amount placed into this scholarship account typically has no limit, but most colleges stipulate that the scholarship cannot exceed tuition for one year. There is a wide range of colleges who are joining scholarship benefit programs, so their families can still enjoy a wide range of potential schools to apply for.

This benefit is an excellent way to encourage existing employees and to be able to recruit top talent!  Imagine being able to recruit employees by saying, “At our company, we help put your kids through college!” This is a powerful incentive to encourage employee retention and to attract the best talent pool.

Discover whether the college tuition benefit is right for your company. Whether you have 25 employees in a budding small business or operate a large international corporation, this dynamic scholarship opportunity is an attractive option for employees seeking the best benefits in your industry. Find out the exact rules and regulations regarding a college tuition benefit plan and get ready to create a powerful incentive for future employees in your industry.

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How to Avoid Open Enrollment Nightmares 

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It’s almost Halloween, and you know what that means.

 

The grocery store aisles fill with candy, costume parties are everywhere, and monsters lurk around every corner…

 

That’s right— we’re talking about open enrollment.

 

As a broker or HR manager, you know that open enrollment is scarier than anything a haunted house could cook up! 

 

Deadline after deadline, cleaning pages and pages of data, fielding calls from employees and staying until 10 PM every night to get things straight.

 

You’re not the only ones who get stressed around open enrollment, though. Employees get stressed out, too, because they often don’t know what the differences are between health plans and have no idea what they should choose. They know that once open enrollment ends, they’re locked into whatever plan they chose for the entire year.

 

Talk about stressful! We see this all the time. Employees don’t understand their options and they often make incorrect decisions.

 

Why is this bad?

 

Well, beyond the fact that you want employees to have the best health care plans, studies have shown that overall employee perception of the quality of their employer is centered around benefits.

 

Even when pay is high, employees’ perception of the company will not be as high as it would be if they know they have great benefits.

 

Many employers have great benefits. But when you lack the time and tools to communicate that effectively to your employees, they don’t realize how rich the benefits are and their perception doesn’t change.  

 

So how do you avoid open enrollment nightmares and ensure that employees get both the best coverage possible and understand their benefits?

 

  1. Define your objective. Begin with the end in mind. Where do you want to end up? The CFO or owner might aim to lower the overall expense and improve productivity. Meanwhile, HR’s goal might be to help employees understand their benefits and simply accomplish open enrollment without enough staff. 

 

There can be different objectives at play, so it’s important to have everyone discuss and define them together. 

 

As you think about your objective, you’ll want to ensure two things:

 

  • It’s results-oriented. What exactly are you trying to do? Get a higher percentage of employees enrolled in a high deductible gap plan? Get people to put more money in their HSAs? Educate people in the wellness arena? Increase contributions to FSAs? Define the exact results you want.

 

  • Your methods are up-to-date. There are a variety of ways to communicate with employees. Know your audience, so you can connect with them in the right ways! Are they baby boomers, millennials, or generation Xers? These groups all have different needs, wants, and communication styles. 

 

Make sure you also understand the location and accessibility of your audience. For example, are your employees working in a factory? Do they travel? Are they home-based? If you’re trying to reach truck drivers (who are remote and on the move), you’ll need to communicate with them differently than you would with people who work right in the office.

 

  1. Launch a communication campaign that engages your specific population. There are many ways to get your message out that employers often don’t think of. Depending on your audience, this could include:

 

  • Newsletters
  • Emails
  • Mass texts
  • Mass voicemails
  • Memos
  • A website
  • Social media

 

  1. Customize your message and have clear communication pieces to support it. Materials like videos help educate employees in the office, while podcasts can share open enrollment information for remote employees who travel. Create a dedicated library of information about open enrollment delivered through all manners of support.

 

  1. Communicate a clear call to action. Will your open enrollment be passive or active? If an employee doesn’t have to take action, that’s passive enrollment. Remember that given the option to do nothing, that’s what employees will do. 

 

Your job is to ask: does this support our objective? 

 

Think about your call-to-action. Are there educational meetings you want employees to attend? What are the open enrollment dates? Do they need to update beneficiary information? Are you doing a dependent audit? What about spouse exclusions or the nicotine surcharge? 

 

Whatever your call-to-action, it should support your objective.

 

  1. Measure results. Measuring results against your objectives as you go through open enrollment allows you to see what’s happening on a daily basis. That’s how we work at BEST: we always know what’s going on and that way we can act accordingly. If there’s a pocket of employees in a department where no one has even logged in yet, we know that on day 2 or 3 as opposed to when open enrollment has ended and it’s too late. 

 

Tracking the results live means that you can adjust your methods if you see by day 3 or 4 that objectives aren’t getting met. Maybe you need a new message or a new communications strategy, or you need to speak with a department head about getting the message to her particular group of employees. If you wait until the end of open enrollment to notice that what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s too late. 

 

After you get through this year’s open enrollment, the best thing you can do to avoid a nightmare next year is to start educating employees year-round on their benefits. Instead of waiting until open enrollment to explain to employees what an HSA is and why they should maximize it, educate them in the middle of the year so they already know what to do when open enrollment rolls around.

 

We know this is a lot to process. 

 

If you’re still feeling the open enrollment dread, outsourcing to a strategic third party can help. 

 

A strategic third party like BeneChoice can simplify the process of open enrollment, reduce your cost, automate and track results, execute better solutions with a more tactical approach, audit for carrier discrepancies, handle eligibility management and offer year-round support. 

 

For third parties like us, we’re always in open enrollment. About 50-60% of companies renew their benefits in December or January, but the rest do it throughout the year. That means we deal with open enrollment day-in and day-out. 

 

At BeneChoice, we support over 1,000 clients with open enrollment throughout the year. So say goodbye to the monster in the closet and embrace a solution streamlined through technology that can get you the results you need.

 

To learn more about how BeneChoice can help you achieve your objectives and avoid open enrollment nightmares, click here.

Relieve the Stress of Benefits Administration

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Benefits administration can cause a great deal of stress within your HR department. Whether you’re heading into the stressful open enrollment period or your staff is feeling stressed after a particularly challenging week, here are some key ways to relieve stress and create a positive company culture in your HR department.

Practice Moderation in the Workplace

Balancing new projects with routine work can be especially challenging for an HR department. If your employees need to focus on open enrollment tasks while juggling their daily workload, this can lead to stress and feelings of burnout. Find ways to alleviate these tasks and assist your employees in balancing their expanded workload.

Communicate Across the Generation Line

How many generations are represented in your company? Many HR departments are working with as many as four generations of employees. These generation lines can cloud communication and make it difficult to clearly communicate with every individual. Find a clear communication strategy that works for everyone in the office to ensure that their jobs are as stress-free as possible.

Assist Employees in Understanding Benefits

Finally, your HR department may already have benefits and resources available to relieve stress in the workplace, but your employees may not be aware of it. Encourage your HR department to carefully review all the relevant benefits, and consider training your employees in the resources available to them. This will encourage them to take advantage of the many resources you’ve already invested in and assist them in relieving stress without adding additional benefits or investing in other resources.

Don’t let your HR employees suffer from unnecessary stress and burnout this open enrollment season. Take the time to educate them on their relevant benefits, balance their workload and keep a positive company culture as your entire company navigates a busy week or season.

How to Offer Dental Insurance in Benefits Packages

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Benefits are important to your employees. Providing the best possible options to the men and women who work hard for you is a great way to show your appreciation. Though general health insurance packages can be helpful, you may also want to offer a bit more. Dental insurance, for example, can make all the difference when it comes to delivering a benefits package that will get your employees excited. To select the right option, you may need a better understanding of what coverage is provided by a solid dental plan.

Preventative Care

Most dental plans will offer preventative care. This feature helps you, the insurance provider, and your employees save money because preventative care limits the need for more expensive and involved procedures. This will usually cover an annual checkup and cleaning, though it will not always fully cover services like x-rays, fillings, or surgical procedures.

Orthodontia Options

While preventative care can be a good foundation, you may want to go above and beyond with what you’re providing your staff. Orthodontia options are available through some providers, which helps to cover some or all of the costs of corrective dental treatments.

A Large Network

There are specific factors you want to consider when shopping around for the right insurance. Not all plans are created equal, and some options limit what dentists you and your employees can visit. Closely examine the network options offered by the insurance provider before making your decision. Some plans will even allow you to go outside of your network and select your own dentist, so take your time to find a plan that provides the broadest range of options.

Whistles and Bells

Some dental plans go a bit farther than others in plan design. Some will allow “takeover” credit from a prior plan so that you do not have to go through a waiting period when changing from one carrier to another. Some plans also offer a  “rollover” feature that allows you to carry over part of your annual maximum benefit—very nice if you typically just get your scheduled cleanings and in a future year had to have some major dental work done.

Picking out health benefits for your employees can be a challenge. By considering options like dental coverage, you’re doing your part to provide for the people who help make your business a success.

Ben Admin Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

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Open enrollment for human resources can be a stressful time of year for many companies. This additional workload can be managed by a benefit administration system. However, many of these systems are costly and create additional headaches. Another problem is that there is not one perfect system, a new one seems to pop up every day. The goal is to find a cost-effective benefit administration system that works for your company’s particular situation that allows you to not only navigate open enrollment season with less stress, but also manage adds/terms/changes throughout the year!

Choose a system that doesn’t just offer a one-time service or month-long subscription. Instead, partner with a company who is willing to provide you with year-round support for any issue that may arise. This long-term partnership allows you to prepare for  your companies benefits administration far easier than last-minute strategies. Plan ahead and offer year-round access as an additional benefit to your employees. Dynamic software options make it easy to track these changes and offer these comprehensive services any time of year.

With an automated tracking system, the best benefit administration packages keep you on track effortlessly. Leverage your time as you effectively management eligibility, navigate open enrollment and create a positive company culture in the process.

While some companies only offer the system at open enrollment, many more companies provide this service throughout the year. If your company has year round enrollments with new hires, terminations….etc, don’t work with a company that’s designed to only provide these services for December and January. Find a program that gives you the same flexibility you’ve passed on to your employees.

You don’t have to pay a fortune to receive all of these innovative services. Discover how affordable, effective and efficient benefit administration software when offered through BeneChoice Enrollment Solutions & Technology can be! Whether you work with a large team or are just starting a small business, discover today how a comprehensive enrollment solution can give you the leverage you need to keep your business moving forward.

Email us at info@benechoice.com or call 717 517-7016