November 18th, 2021

How to Deal with the Challenges of Benefits Administration

Benefits administration is such a beast to handle that there are special people in human resources trained to manage it. Benefits specialists, benefits consultants, and benefits administrators are jobs specifically created for this unique HR function. Because once you offer employee benefits, benefits administration — and its challenges — are something you have to deal with. 

Here are three of the most common challenges associated with benefits administration and how you can make the process of benefits administration easier. 

Challenges of Benefits Administration

When you think about the most challenging aspect of offering benefits — it’s probably the cost that gets employers more than anything else. However, once you’ve selected your benefits, the process of benefits administration brings a bundle of other challenges to contend with. 


Benefits are and will continue to be a highly regulated area of employment. New employer laws and regulations governing employer benefits come out each year. Just this year in Colorado, four laws impacted employer’s benefits administration: 

  • Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
  • Healthy Families and Workplaces Act
  • Family and Medical Leave updates
  • The Colorado Secure Savings Program

Staying up to date with benefit requirements and how to be compliant requires a lot of time and legal guidance. If businesses aren’t educated or well-versed in workplace compliance they could face steep fines for violations. 

Administrative Tasks

Out of all HR duties, benefits require the most day-to-day tasks. Many maintenance activities go into administering benefits, such as:

  • Making appropriate deductions in payroll and monthly reconciliations
  • Filing necessary forms and distributing required notices
  • Establishing and maintaining plan descriptions
  • Facilitating enrollment and updates based on employee life changes
  • Complying with regulations such as ERISA, ACA, COBRA, and other state-required benefit continuation laws

Even though benefits administration is a responsibility of HR, it can quickly become a burden and take up valuable time — time better spent on HR strategy rather than tactical responsibilities.

Education & Communication 

Benefits are a complex topic, especially when it comes to healthcare insurance. The open-enrollment process is often a painful one since few workers fully understand our healthcare system. According to a SHRM benefits report done in 2019, 41% of employees find their companies’ open-enrollment process extremely confusing.

So human resources management is tasked with not only assessing benefit plan options but educating employees on what packages are available and supporting employees in making the best decision for them and their families. 

Between the legal requirements, administrative tasks, and ongoing education and communication required, the responsibility of benefits administration can feel like a never-ending burden. 

Dealing with Benefits Administration — What Success Looks Like

Every company’s benefits administration process depends on the type of benefits they offer and other unique considerations, such as local laws and regulations and the size of their business. But in general, having a streamlined process for assessing and selecting benefits is imperative for successful benefits administration. 

The more streamlined that aspect of benefits administration is, the more time employers have to educate and communicate benefits to their employees. After all, benefits are highly desirable. Employers should spend as much time as they can promoting and highlighting the value of their benefits to attract and retain talent. 

Luckily, an HR partner can handle all of the maintenance activities noted above so employers can focus on educating and communicating benefits to their employees. From assessment to selection to administration, an HR partner can do it all — while keeping you compliant. 

HR partners may also provide access to richer, more quality benefits — particularly when it comes to health care plans. With the rising cost of premiums and limited plan options for small to medium-sized businesses, this can be a huge advantage. To learn more about how to improve your benefits and how an HR partner can help alleviate the challenges of benefits administration, download the guide below.

Download Our Guide: Build Better Benefits

Download this guide to learn about how you can provide better benefits for your employees while managing costs.

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