Going Paperless: Pain Relief for ACA and Benefits

I remember watching a cartoon growing up where children imagined themselves as working adults. Their parents worked in an office where they ‘pushed paper’ all day, so naturally, the kids picked up brooms and pushed stacks of paper across the floor. 

Unfortunately for many of us, this doesn’t seem so far off some days. And in the world of human resources, payroll and benefits, stacks of paper are all too common. But removing this burden becomes secondary to daily functions like open enrollment, new ACA compliance issues and keeping up with employee changes. Fortunately for us, we live in an era where technology is constantly evolving, creating solutions to problems like stacks of paper.

Employee Benefits as an Incentive 

To say that the ACA is time consuming is a severe understatement. Human resource departments, which were already dwindling in numbers, must consciously keep themselves updated while implementing and maintaining new compliance rules. The law may require new standards of coverage, but the addition of these products may be too costly for both the employer and employee. Costly medical plans diminish the point; they are no longer seen as a benefit and therefore, not an incentive to remain with your company. 

Ask anyone in a human resource department about the required ACA 1095-C forms and you’ll get a well-practiced eye roll; they’ll need a separate desk for that mountain of paperwork. But ask an outsider about ACA, and beyond what it does to their paycheck, they don’t care so much; the time you spend on the ACA doesn’t directly affect whether they stay or go. 

MetLife Insurance Company completes an annual Employee Benefit Trends Study and in their 13th year, the study reaffirms what they’ve been saying for the last several years: there is a direct correlation between the amount of choice an employee has in their benefits package, how that package is communicated and their job satisfaction. 

The current workforce is made up of four generations, all of whom have different financial needs and concerns. There is no ‘one plan fits all.’ In order to adequately cover your employee’s needs, multiple plan options are key.

Software as Excedrin 

14 plans may be unnecessary, but if there was a way to magically capture and move employee elections into payroll without manual manipulation, that many plans doesn’t seem so daunting. But it isn’t magic; it’s benefit administration software that changes those elections into deductions. 

Once elections are made, the transfer of data electronically decreases the risk of human error. Elections turn into deductions, employees receive ID cards, and administrators become heroes. The process reduces paper, time and money. 

The same MetLife Trends Study found that 65% of employees perceived a company’s benefits website as one of the top resources in regards to understanding their benefits package. A benefits platform puts the education in the employee’s hands – summaries, SBCs, links to resources, all accessible alongside their check stub. 

ACA Requirements Are Here to Stay

Most choose human resources as a career path because of a love for people. They are company cheerleaders, employee representatives and mother hens. They want to spend their time developing relationships with employees, not counting the number of full time equivalents each month. 

Implementing a software platform can solve many issues in terms of the enrollment process, but the ACA created some new roadblocks that can slow down even the largest human resource department. The 1094 and 1095 forms required by the IRS must be completed for each insurance eligible employee (read: mountain of paperwork). 

Maintaining a benefits platform means most of the required form data is stored electronically and easily extracted. Storing offers of coverage and enrollment data eliminates some of that manual data entry, relieving administrators from completing potentially hundreds of forms by hand. Dominion clients may also take advantage of our tools that assist in completing the forms and filing to the IRS, much like a W2. 

As a software company, we strive to be as paperless as possible, and help our clients to do so, as well. Not only does it keep roots in the ground, but it relieves clutter, reduces the number of locked filing cabinets, and, most importantly, saves manual data entry. So please, put down that broom.