2022 marks some major changes for employers and the ERISA-compliant benefit plans they provide to their employees. New government regulations state that employers must provide transparency to employees regarding the amount of money paid for different services through a health insurance plan. Employees can also view a list of the providers they may see under their plan and the common procedural cost reimbursement rate.
Aside from creating a freer marketplace for employees to explore their options for care and save money, this also places a significant amount of new responsibilities on employers. However, if you think strategically, work closely with your broker and listen to feedback from employees, these laws are an excellent opportunity to increase employee satisfaction and leverage your transparent benefit plan for talent recruitment.
A Brief Refresh on ERISA Compliance and Your Role as Plan Fiduciary
As we covered in our previous blog post, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was passed in 1974 and is a federal tax labor law that sets up minimum standards for retirement and health insurance plans in the private industry. Since ERISA plans include taxed benefit plans provided by employers, they’re a tax deduction for businesses, and the federal government has regulations in place for the plans and deductions.
With an ERISA plan, you as an employer serve as plan fiduciary for all of your employees. This means you are responsible for the decisions that are being made regarding employee benefits. As such, making sure you’re in compliance with all laws surrounding employee benefits and transparency is critical.
OK, So How Do I Make Sure I’m Compliant With New ERISA Regulations?
As an employer, your responsibilities start with understanding what is expected of you. You have a fiduciary responsibility to comply with regulations and ensure that all of the vendors you work with are compliant and working in the best interests of your employees. Having complete knowledge of your responsibilities helps you be a strong leader to your employees, and fosters respect and contentment as you can provide them with the information they need regarding benefits as they request them.
Don’t stop at meeting the bare minimum of compliance, though. Instead of just checking your boxes, look for opportunities to use cost transparency for employee attraction and retention. Think about the frustration you’ve encountered in the past regarding benefits: have murky details, unclear costs and unexpected fees hurt you and your employees? By truly maximizing these laws and building your company’s attitude towards benefits around transparency, compliance and saving money, you could be a leader in your industry and attract top talent.
Can I Leverage These New ERISA Compliance Laws to Make My Company More Competitive?
You can definitely use these laws as an opportunity to go above and beyond in achieving compliance and employee benefit satisfaction!
To do this, you need to listen carefully to your employees’ feedback and what they have to say about their plan. Aside from directing unhappy employees to your HR Department, do you have practical systems in place to incorporate employee feedback, needs and wants into your benefits plan? Doing so will help you best understand the “why” behind your benefit decisions, and create a cost-effective, compliant plan your employees actually enjoy. Working with a broker that fosters this employee input and honesty will majorly pay off.
How Can My Broker Help Me Make Sure I’m Compliant With ERISA Regulations?
As an employer, it is critical that you work alongside a broker who will help you be in compliance with these new federal transparency regulations. This includes features such as:
- Educating you thoroughly on all transparency laws you are required to follow, and the consequences of being non-compliant
- Educating you on your role as the plan fiduciary and providing the necessary resources to help you succeed
- Helping you achieve compliance with ERISA transparency laws for both your own protection and that of your employees
- Investigating if the healthcare providers you work with are also compliant with transparency laws so you don’t become liable
Make your goal to work with a broker that doesn’t just meet the standards for federal compliance, but goes above and beyond. How would it benefit your company if you could see where every benefit dollar went, just how much you were paying for each employee and just how much employees were paying in their contributions?
By working with a broker committed to turning your benefits administration team into fiduciary and federal transparency experts, you can evaluate places in your plan where both you and your employees can save money. Long term, you can leverage these discoveries to attract and retain employees with an affordable, strong, compliant benefit plan.
Looking For a Broker Committed to Compliance and Cost Transparency?
At Waypoint Benefit Solutions, we specialize in creating unique, data-driven benefit plans based on feedback from your valued employees, your unique data and our customized solutions. Our entire model is built on transparency, cost-saving strategies and knowing where every dollar spent by both employees and employers goes. Not only do we help you exceed the legal requirements as a plan fiduciary, we make your company more competitive — contact us to get started today!