Enrolling participants in benefit programs and plans

Understanding Benefits Administration. Before you can enroll a participant, your Human Resources department must set up personnel administration data: personal information, compensation allowances, and job data.

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Annual Benefits Base Rate. This field is blank if your organization uses a benefits base different from regular pay. Verify that the employee is enrolled in the correct benefit program, because you can only enroll participants in benefit plans that are associated with their assigned benefit program. Using individual benefit pages, enroll the participant in all appropriate benefit plans within the benefit program.

When you enroll employees in health, life, savings, FSA, and Canadian pension benefit plans, you also enroll dependents and assign beneficiaries. You should set up that data before you start enrollments. That way, for each dependent enrollment and beneficiary assignment, you can prompt for the data once rather than enter it several times. Setting Up Benefit Plans.

Setting Up Pay Groups. Enroll employees in savings benefit plans, assign beneficiaries, and identify investment elections. Benefit Program. Set up a default benefit program on the Pay Group table. If you run a payroll before you enter a benefit program, payroll cannot process the employee.

enrolling participants in benefit programs and plans

Health Provider ID. Tracks the primary care physician information for the employee's health provider. You can enter the name of the employee's doctor, an ID number, or any other format the health provider may require. Select to indicate that the employee is a current patient of the indicated physician. On this page, the Smoker check box is a display-only field.

When Smoker is selected, the system uses the age-graded rates that have been defined for smokers when calculating the employee's life benefit cost.This section provides an overview of enrolling participants in Base Benefits and discusses how to enroll an employee in a benefit program and benefit plans.

Assign to Benefit Program Page. Enroll the employee in the appropriate benefit program. Health Benefits Page.

enrolling participants in benefit programs and plans

Enroll employees and dependents in health plan types: medical, dental, and vision. Enroll participants in life plans and assign beneficiaries to those plans. Benefits Personal Data page. Enter and maintain multiple ABBRs for an employee. Review ABBRs review annual base benefit base rates. Disability Benefits Page. Enroll employees in disability benefit plans.

Savings Plans Page. Enroll employees in savings benefit plans, assign beneficiaries, and identify investment elections. Leave Plans Page.

Spending Accounts Page. Retirement Plans Page. Vacation Benefits Page. Enroll employees in vacation buy and sell plans. Simple Benefits Page. Maintain employee enrollment in simple benefit plans. Using the Manage Base Benefits business process to enroll participants consists of two parts:. Initially, an employee's benefit program assignment is assigned to the employee based on his or her employee pay group, but you can override this assignment at the employee level.

Verify that the employee is enrolled in the correct benefit program, because you can enroll participants only in benefit plans that are associated with their assigned benefit program.

Using individual benefit pages, enroll the participant in all appropriate benefit plans within the benefit program. When you enroll employees in health, life, savings, FSA flexible spending accountand Canadian pension benefit plans, you also enroll dependents and assign beneficiaries.

Note: You should set up that data before you start enrollments. That way, for each dependent enrollment and beneficiary assignment, you can prompt for the data once rather than enter it several times.

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Assign to Benefit Program page. You can find definitions for the fields and controls later on this page. Set up a default benefit program on the Pay Group table. If you run a payroll before you enter a benefit program, payroll cannot process the employee. You can override the default benefit programs with the correct benefit program.

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Health Benefits page. Tracks the primary care physician information for the employee's health provider. Enter the name of the employee's doctor, an ID number, or any other format the health provider may require. Select to indicate that the employee is a current patient of the indicated physician.

USF This check box indicates whether the dependent has another active insurance plan.

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USF Enter the name of the other insurance plan.Such plans are voluntarily established or maintained by an employer, an employee organization, or jointly by one or more such employers and an employee organization. Retirement plans, a type of employee benefit plan, are established or maintained to provide retirement income or to defer income until termination of covered employment or beyond.

Other employee benefit plans, called welfare plans, are established or maintained to provide health benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, prepaid legal services, vacation benefits, day care centers, scholarship funds, apprenticeship and training benefits, or other similar benefits. ERISA also does not cover plans maintained outside the United States primarily for the benefit of nonresident aliens or unfunded excess benefit plans. ERISA sets uniform minimum standards to ensure that employee benefit plans are established or maintained in a fair and financially sound manner.

In addition, employers have an obligation to provide promised benefits and satisfy ERISA's requirements for managing and administering private retirement and welfare plans. Fiduciary Standards. Part 4 of Title I sets forth standards and rules for the conduct of plan fiduciaries. In general, persons who render investment advice or exercise discretionary authority or control over management of a plan or disposition of its assets are "fiduciaries" for purposes of Title I of ERISA.

Fiduciaries are required, among other things, to discharge their duties solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and defraying reasonable expenses of administering the plan. In discharging their duties, fiduciaries must act prudently and in accordance with documents governing the plan, to the extent such documents are consistent with ERISA.

ERISA prohibits certain transactions between an employee benefit plan and "parties in interest," which include the employer and others who may be in a position to exercise improper influence over the plan, and such transactions may trigger civil monetary penalties under Title I of ERISA. The Internal Revenue Code "Code" also prohibits most of these transactions, and it imposes an excise tax on "disqualified persons" whose definition generally parallels that of parties in interest who participate in such transactions.

Both ERISA and the Code contain various statutory exemptions from the prohibited transaction rules and give the Departments of Labor and Treasury, respectively, authority to grant administrative exemptions and establish exemption procedures. Reorganization Plan No.

enrolling participants in benefit programs and plans

The statutory exemptions generally include loans to participants, the provision of services needed to operate a plan for reasonable compensation, loans to employee stock ownership plans, and investment with certain financial institutions regulated by other state or Federal agencies.

The Department of Labor may grant administrative exemptions on a class or individual basis for a wide variety of proposed transactions with a plan. Applications for individual exemptions must include, among other information the following:. The Department's exemption procedures are set forth at 29 CFR Continuation of Health Coverage. These provisions, which are codified in Part 6 of Title I of ERISA, apply to group health plans of employers with 20 or more employees on a typical working day in the previous calendar year.

Group health coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees, since usually the employer pays a part of the premium for active employees while COBRA participants generally pay the entire premium themselves. Plans must give covered individuals an initial general notice informing them of their rights under COBRA and describing the law. The law also obliges plan administrators, employers, and qualified beneficiaries to provide notice of certain "qualifying events.

The plan administrator must then advise the qualified beneficiaries of the opportunity to elect continuation coverage. Jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service. Many Federal laws have been enacted to amend ERISA to provide important protections for participants and beneficiaries of group health plans and health insurance coverage offered in connection with group health plans.

These provisions include rules relating to the prohibition of preexisting condition exclusions, the prohibition of lifetime and annual dollar limits for essential health benefits, the prohibition of rescissions, and required coverage of certain preventive services without cost sharing. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of These provisions include rules relating to special enrollment rights, and prohibition of discrimination against individuals based on health status.

For plan participants and beneficiaries receiving benefits in connection with a mastectomy, plans offering coverage for a mastectomy must also cover reconstructive surgery and other benefits related to a mastectomy. Generally, group health plans offering mental health benefits cannot set annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits that are lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits.

Any type of financial requirements or treatment limitations imposed on mental health or substance use disorder benefits in a classification can be no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits covered by a plan in the classification. In addition, there are rules regarding nonquantitative treatment limitations such as prior authorization requirements.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of GINA prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from discriminating in health coverage based on genetic information. Plans must continue to provide coverage for up to one year, or until coverage would otherwise terminate under the plan. Plans are allowed to require physician certification of the medical necessity for the leave of absence.A system and method for enrolling participants in a retirement plan simplifies election decisions necessary to enroll in the retirement plan and encourages retirement savings through use of the retirement plan.

An enrollment form is provided to participants, the enrollment form includes a convenience election option whereby if the participant selects the convenience election option then does not specify the allocation of investments into funds. The enrollment form is processed and if the convenience election option is selected the participants contributions are allocated into funds based on the expected retirement age of the participant.

Provisional Application No. The present invention relates to financial services and voluntary benefit plans. More particularly, though not exclusively, the present invention relates to a system and method for enrolling participants in defined contribution plans, reducing or eliminating the confusion and complexity eligible employees face during the enrollment process by bundling multiple election decisions in a unique and novel fashion.

Employers today face a number of challenges in managing productivity and efficiency, including uncovering ways to reduce business taxes, keep employee benefit costs low, and hire and retain quality employees.

Not surprisingly, many employers have turned to group retirement plans as part of a compensation package to attract quality employees while encouraging employee loyalty, thereby reducing the time employers spend hiring and training. The process of enrolling new employees or participants into a group retirement plan has proved problematic, however. This is particularly true in the case of defined contribution plans that require the participant to make a series of elections about their contributions.

For instance, eligible employees must make election decisions about deferral levels, fund choices, allocation percentages, etc. Many eligible employees are daunted by the wide array of decisions.

These factors prevent many people from taking the necessary steps to be prepared for retirement. In fact, according to industry research, participation rates for defined contribution plans have declined significantly in recent years. In automatic enrollment, the employer enrolls all employees on a de facto basis, normally without an enrollment meeting.

The employees can decide to change their participation or opt-out of the plan at a later date. Such low deferral rates and conservative investment options are not appropriate for most employees.

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To make matters worse, most employees neither review nor modify the default elections after the automatic enrollment process is complete. As such, many employees participate in define contribution pension plans for years by contributing at inappropriate deferral levels and investing in funds with relatively low yields. Therefore, it is a primary object, feature or advantage of the present invention to provide a system and methods for enrolling eligible employees in defined contribution pension plans that overcomes the problems and deficiencies found in the prior art.

It is a further object, feature or advantage of the present invention is to overcome the inertia, procrastination and fear faced by many eligible employees by providing an enhanced, bundled, easy-to-use enrollment service. A still further object, feature or advantage of the present invention is to assist plan participants in making appropriate election decisions with minimal effort.

Another feature, object or advantage of the present invention is to provide a simplified enrollment process with a default deferral rate to maximize any employer-matching contributions. Yet another object, feature or advantage of the present invention is the provision of an enrollment process that provides for an age-appropriate investment allocation and portfolio. The present invention provides a simplified, streamlined enrollment process for defined contribution plans.

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The system and methods provided reduce the confusion and complexity eligible employee's face during the enrollment process by bundling multiple election decisions into a single, easy to understand enrollment option. A single, easy to understand enrollment option can set an employees contributions to a default deferral rate unless otherwise specified.How to communicate with and help employees to choose workplace benefits.

Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e. Companies are preparing to kick off open enrollment for their employees to choose their workplace benefits.

Health, vision, dental, life insurance What's the best way to help employees through open enrollment season? Take a look at our primer below for ways to start the conversation, and at our glossary of common and commonly misunderstood terms. Our news articles offer lots of tips on educating employees and helping them make great choices. In the U. Most companies schedule open enrollment to end a few weeks before enrollment forms must be submitted to benefit providers.

For calendar-year benefit plans starting Jan. Most employers have an open enrollment period of at least two to four weeks. This webcast provides tips and strategies for effectively engaging your virtual workforce with enrollment and benefits education via your benefits platform, communication materials and more.

Discover benefits communication approaches proven to help reduce costs; how to shift to a fully digital messaging approach, in the likely event you're unable to run an in-person open enrollment; and more. Open Enrollment Resources. During open enrollment, highlight the contribution cap and encourage employees to consider a higher savings rate, retirement advisors recommend.

Benefit limits for adoption assistance, transit benefits, and qualified small employer HRAs were also released. By the start of the new year, employers should adjust their payroll systems to account for the higher taxable wage base.

This leads some to bypass an HSA option during open enrollment, while others who enroll in HSA-eligible plans often fail to take full advantage of them. Build Empathy into Your Open Enrollment Season Effective communication has always been vital during open enrollment, but this year it's even more important, and so is expressing empathy. Employers should show that they understand the fears and anxieties their employees are feeling. Delaying Dental and Vision Care Can Be a Costly Mistake Employees who stay away from dental checkups and eye exams could be putting their teeth, vision and general health at risk.

To lessen their anxiety, during open enrollment encourage workers to speak with their care providers about safety measures. Helping Employees Navigate Health Benefits During Open Enrollment To help communicate about health care benefits, the marketplace offers an array of benefits selection and enrollment platforms and consultants who can engage directly with employees.

Here are tips for choosing appropriate tools and resources. Moderate Cost Increases Projected for Health Benefits in Despite COVID uncertainties, employers continue to expect a moderate health plan cost increase next year, with less cost-shifting to employees. Health benefit cost growth, however, continues to far outpace inflation and wage growth, both of which have slowed significantly.

A New Role for Critical-Illness Insurance in the Coronavirus Era As the pandemic continues, some insurers are amending their critical illness policies to cover infectious diseases.

Consider the details, however, and other issues when deciding whether to add critical illness coverage as a voluntary benefit. Employers Feel More Responsible for Employees' Financial Wellness As employers acknowledge a responsibility to help improve employees' financial well-being, they are adopting financial wellness benefits that meet employees' evolving needs—heightened by the pandemic—and employers' own budget constraints.

Spotlight Value of Benefits Package During Open Enrollment The COVID pandemic makes this year's open enrollment period a critical time for employers to think about the benefits they're providing and to communicate the value of these offerings to employees.

Viewpoint: Conducting Open Enrollment During the Pandemic With a pandemic raging, employers are facing even bigger challenges around conducting open enrollment and communicating benefits information. That's why there's an argument for passive-selection enrollment this year. If employers are going to change benefits programs to help employees enhance their physical, mental and fiscal health, they should determine if new offerings will meet actual workforce needs. Shore up Benefits Cybersecurity During Open Enrollment Employee data collected during open enrollment is a gold mine for cybercriminals.Elective contributions can be altered midyear for many payroll-deferred accounts.

Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e.

When Employees Can—and Can’t—Change Benefit Plan Contributions

On May 12, the IRS released two notices allowing for temporary changes affecting employees' ability to enroll in, and to change pretax contributions for, employer-sponsored health plans, health flexible spending accounts health FSAs and dependent care flexible spending accounts dependent care FSAs. In IRS Noticethe agency said it would allow increased flexibility regarding mid-year election changes for group health plans and FSAs. For instance, employees will now be able to:.

For both health FSAs and dependent care FSAs, used to fund for caregiving expenses with pretax dollars, employees will be able to enroll in the FSA, drop FSA coverage, and increase within the annual limit or decrease existing FSA payroll-deferred contributions during For plan years ending before Dec.

IRS Noticealso released May 12, increases the amount of funds that plans can carry over without penalty at the end of the year for health FSAs, for plans that use the carryover option.

These changes had been advocated by the Society for Human Resource Management. The COVID pandemic has upended not only employees' lives but also the expectations they had at the start of for annual spending through their benefit programs. Those who wish to change their pretax elective, payroll-deferred contributions for such things as dependent care or elective surgeries will find that some plans can be changed throughout the year while others may be changed only when employees have had a recent "qualifying life event.

Some midyear elective-contribution changes have long been permitted. For instance, contribution changes to k or similar defined contribution retirement plans, and to health savings accounts HSAscan be made at any time for any reason. Employers may limit changes to once per month for administrative purposeshowever, according to Benefit Resource Inc. BRIan administrator of tax-free benefits programs. The opposite holds for employer-sponsored group health, dental and vision plans.

Under tax code Sectionelective contributions can only be changed within 30 days of a qualifying event as determined by the IRS, such as marriage, divorce, job change, birth or adoption of a child, or when a dependent child reaches age While the rules for health, retirement and other core benefits are widely known, employee confusion is more common concerning voluntary or supplemental benefits.

As with group health plans, employees can only make changes to a health flexible spending account health FSA if they've had a qualifying event. This is causing health FSA participants problems because "the COVID pandemic has changed the practice of medicine, with people less willing to go to doctors' offices and nonelective procedures being cancelled or postponed," said William Sweetnam, legislative and technical director at the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation ECFCwhich represents sponsors of account-based benefit plans.

Employees should not be penalized because their anticipated annual medical expense estimates need to be adjusted, Dickens noted. Sweetnam would also like to see guidance temporarily allowing employees to change their health FSA salary-reduction elections. Attorneys at the IRS and the Treasury "understand the issues at hand, and they are considering this and other issues relating to the health care and economic impact of the pandemic; however, it is hard to say what the agencies can do," he noted.

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Employees in these circumstances often ask about changing the amount of their pretax contributions to their dependent care flexible spending accounts. Fortunately, he added, midyear "election rules are applied in a more liberal manner" to dependent care FSAs than to health FSAs.

For dependent care FSAs, "the rules allow changes in pretax contributions under circumstances where the need for dependent care changes midyear. Therefore, an employee who is working from home or working less and does not need, or have access to, dependent care can be allowed to change stop or reduce his or her pretax contribution election," Daley noted.

If employees subsequently return to their regular onsite work schedule, "another election change can be allowed to increase contributions, assuming that the need for dependent care increases. Changes can be made at any time for these plans, as employees don't need to wait until open enrollment to set a new election. However, there may be monthly cutoffs for changes to apply for a given month.This section describes how to enroll employees in benefit programs and plans. Enroll participants into benefit programs and plans.

Each assignee is given a share of the total coverage being assigned.

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The total of these percentages must be Select the Job Data tab. You can find definitions for the fields and controls later on this page. This group box is used for Benefits Administration processing. Applies only if your benefits system uses Benefits Administration.

Use it to link the participant to a particular benefits administration group for Benefits Administration processing later. Automatically set to the benefits program specified for the employee's pay group, which you specify in the Position Data page.

Select this option for employees with a career conditional career appointment. Here you enter eligibility values that refer to eligibility configuration values in the Eligibility Rules Table. Select this option for employees who are transferring into a position from another agency without a break in service and for rehires with a break in service of fewer than 30 days.

Employees are eligible for FEHB. Select this option for an employee with a temporary appointment greater than one year. Select this option for an employee with a temporary appointment less than one year and continuous service greater than one year. Employees with this eligibility pay the entire cost of their FEHB coverage.

Open Enrollment Guide & Resources

Select this option for employees who are ineligible for FEHB plan coverage. This option is most commonly used for employees with a temporary appointment of less than one year of service. This group box is for Benefits Administration only.

You enter the eligibility values that refer to the eligibility configuration values in the Eligibility Rules Table. This group box is for Federal users.

enrolling participants in benefit programs and plans

Enter the future date on which an employee will be eligible for FEHB coverage. Benefits System. Select the appropriate benefits system. Select Not Managed in PeopleSoft benefits managed by a system other than PeopleSoft to filter out persons who have insufficient employment and job information to support benefit enrollment.

Note: When you have two or more FEGLI-related transactions to process for one employee that are effective on the same date, each one must be processed separately.

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