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5 Health Benefit Tips for Startups (Op-Ed)

5 Health Benefit Tips for Startups (Op-Ed)
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Alex Tolbert is the founder of Bernard Health, a company that provides non-commissioned advice on health, medical bill consulting, and Medicare and COBRA insurance. Tolbert contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

When starting a business, managing benefits administration and filing paperwork is the last thing a business owner wants to worry about. Often, startups avoid offering benefits because of the cost and time required to manage the administration.

For startups, going online with benefits solves a lot of the normal headaches. Why? Because everything you and your employees need will all be in one place, it eliminates the need for paperwork — saving time and money. And it can help you stay compliant with healthcare-reform rules.

Most online administration platforms are designed to be user friendly and easy to navigate for those who aren't computer savvy. Here are five things you should consider when determining which platform is right for your startup:

1. Does it have all of the features needed to make the administration process run smoothly? Be sure that you are able to upload all of your company's benefits without being penalized. For example: You offer health, dental, vision and life benefits to your employees, but your online system will only allow you to upload three benefits without paying an additional fee. You want to make sure that you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. This process should be cost effective and not charge you for every added benefit.

2. Does it offer tools you need to manage the administration process? You must get the administration information right from the beginning and select a system that allows you to manage the entire process in one place. When evaluating online systems, ask:

  • Are you able to process administrations?
  • Are your employees able to make their elections easily?
  • Are you able to manage any qualifying event changes as needed?

3. Is it really going to save time? This is the most important factor to consider. Make sure that the system you choose allows you to streamline and manage everything from one spot. Don't get stuck with a system that requires your employees to print off and turn in election sheets, even if it lets you upload your benefits online.

4. What are the total costs to go online? Many Web-based benefits administration companies charge significant fees on top of the base price. Make sure you discuss every fee with your broker or benefits advisor before you decide on a solution.You want to find out if there are set-up fees, carrier-integration fees or fees for every new carrier.

[Are You Ready? Looming Health Care Changes Worry Businesses ]

5. Will your data be secure? You should focus on making sure your data, as well as your employees' data, is secure throughout the entire benefits administration process.

When evaluating vendors' data security features, ask:

  • How do the program and vendor store data?
  • Does the vendor have a cyber-liability policy in place?
  • How does the vendor ensure security?

Ultimately, you want to gain confidence in your decision to go online by selecting the right program, one that meets your organization's needs. There are many platforms available to streamline your benefits administration process. Taking the time to explore and find the right program for your startup will save time and money in the future, giving you the power to focus on growing your business.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

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