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05:33 PM
Johanna Rodgers
Johanna Rodgers
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Web-Based Apps Simplify Employee Benefits

Insurance trust automates employee benefits administration to realize increased accuracy, efficiency and savings.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association Insurance Trust (PSBAIT, New Cumberland, Pa.), which assists 624 school districts and more than 250,000 employees with their insurance needs, is always looking for ways to better serve its members. "As business offices at schools are being asked to do more," says Ronald Gates, marketing director, PSBAIT, "we have to help them more efficiently handle administrative functions and streamline processes."

For Gates, automating health benefits administration was clearly a priority. "In addition to the basic complexity of health benefit enrollment and administration," explains Gates, "the new HIPAA regulations are making the management of health benefits even more difficult. Plus, because we work with schools, we find that collective bargaining agreements dictate frequent change of benefits, so it really made sense to use technology to reduce the amount of time office staff spends on benefit issues."

Having received proposals from 10 different vendors, Gates and his team interviewed four solution providers and then narrowed the field to two finalists. "We chose Benelogic because of simplicity and cost. Even a novice can sit down and get themselves enrolled," Gates says. Another factor in the selection of Timonium, Md.-based Benelogic was the fact that the company had relationships with many of the same carriers of PSBAIT member schools. "We felt we could leverage the relationships that Benelogic already had and possibly save some time in the development phase," Gates adds.

The solution, called E-BEST (Employee Benefit Electronic Service Tool), lets users manage all aspects of benefits administration, including enrollment, plan descriptions, eligibility and premium reconciliation, via Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, versions 4.0 and higher. The application also includes a compare-and-contrast function to allow users to analyze the costs of different benefit options.

Benelogic designed the E-BEST application using a combination of Web-based and client/server technology, and is responsible for hosting and maintenance. Focused exclusively on benefits administration, Benelogic not only designs customized Web-based applications for employee benefit enrollment but also provides robust reporting tools for benefits administrators. The vendor also provides PSBAIT with call-center support for benefit-related questions, and manages payroll, HRIS and carrier data-exchange functions. By partnering with ADP (Roseland, N.J.), Ceridian (Minneapolis), Deltek (Herndon, Va.), PeopleSoft (Pleasanton, Calif.) and SAP (Newtown, Pa.) for payroll and HRIS connectivity, Benelogic also offers PSBAIT integrated technologies for many business processes and administration.

As each district decides to adopt the E-BEST application, a link will be included on the district's home page, which employees can access either at school or at home. Payroll data and carrier information will be linked directly to the E-BEST application. Implementation and integration time is estimated at 30 days for each district, and along with a one-time implementation charge, the district will pay a set monthly service fee.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

"In the long run, the cost savings will definitely outweigh the costs," Gates says. Although the application is still in the early phases of adoption, data from a recent market research study commissioned by Benelogic indicates that users are responding very favorably to automated benefits enrollment. The survey of 4,100 employees at 10 Benelogic customer sites found that almost 90 percent of employees prefer automated benefits enrollment over former methods.


Case Study Closeup


Pennsylvania School Boards Assn. Insurance Trust (New Cumberland, Pa. representing 250,000 employees).


Life, health, disability, unemployment.


Benelogic (Timonium, Md.).


Automate employee benefits information, management and enrollment.

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