The process to administer a flexible benefits plan contains steps that are carried out by the plan administrator, Arbor Associates. These steps play an important role in the successful administration of any benefits plan. They include plan design, plan setup, communication development, packaging, enrolling, receipt of the information, and the extracting of necessary data.
The plan design consists of what will actually be included in the flexible benefits plan. The specifics of the plan design are decided upon by the consultant and Capital Health System. These specifics include the types and levels of benefits offered, the amount of the employer contribution, and the types of carriers that would be utilized.
The plan setup is how the plan will actually be administered. It gives the responsibilities of the parties involved. For example, if the administration process is outsourced to a third party administrator, the process in which the plan will be managed is defined. The plan design also includes specifics, such as who handles claims’ discrepancies and other issues that the employer may need to address.
Arbor was responsible for the communication development. The communication component is comprised of a newsletter and worksheet. Both of these materials are sent out before the enrollment process begins. The newsletter is used to educate the employees about their benefits for the upcoming year. The worksheet, on the other hand, is a guide for paperless enrollment.
The packaging aspect involves gathering the communication materials, combining them into one package, and distribution. The materials can be used by employees to answer some basic questions they may have. If their questions can not be answered, they are encouraged to the human resource department (of Capital) or Arbor.
The steps that follow, enrolling and receipt of the information by Arbor, include getting the health options back from the employees. These options may include benefit changes from the previous period, new dependents, and choosing the amount to be deposited in a Flexible Spending Account. This information is retrieved and compiled in three different ways: downloading from the Internet, downloading if from the Interactive Voice Response (through the phone), or from worksheets submitted by employees.
The most important aspect of the process is ensuring that data is accurate. The gathered data is then sent to the carrier and to the payroll department of the company. The carrier uses the information to determine eligible dependents and employees. The payroll department uses the information to determine amounts to be deducted from employees’ paychecks, for health coverage and deposits into a Flexible Spending Account.
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