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August 10, 2021

How ELCA-Affiliated Nonprofits Can Strengthen HR Capabilities Without Adding Cost

By Ross Eichelberger

It’s that time of year when many organizations are making health benefit renewal decisions. Do you stick with your current provider (even though your rates may be increasing exponentially), or do you switch to a new provider?

While questions about rates, premiums, and coverage are all important, there’s one more factor to consider in your decision-making process:

Which provider will strengthen my human resources capabilities and ease the burden of administering health benefits?

Maybe that’s a question you didn’t even know you could ask, but the truth is that you don’t need to administer benefits on your own.

Effectively administering health benefits requires resources, experience, and time that you may not have in-house. Benefits administration isn’t easy – especially on a nonprofit budget. Your human resources staff is often stretched thin, which can result in burnout and turnover. And lack of specialized benefits experience could result in mistakes and cause costly compliance penalties for your organization.

The good news is that you can get the resources and experience you need to effectively administer health benefits – at no additional cost – when you find a benefits partner who will work as an extension of your HR team.

Expand Your Bench Strength

Many nonprofit organizations have strong human resources leaders, but who couldn’t use the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your health benefits are backed by a full team of benefits specialists? When you work with a benefits administrator, you get a full set of benefits plan administration skills that you may not have internally.

Most nonprofits don’t have the budget to hire for every imaginable skill set needed, so the HR administrator must wear many hats. With an external team working in tandem with your HR administrator, you can get experts in onboarding, implementation, benefits education, member enrollment, and payroll integration – without adding to your headcount. Perhaps most valuably, an outsourced benefits team can help you remain in compliance with Affordable Care Act requirements and changing legal regulations related to benefits.

Increase Your Offerings Without Increasing Workloads

With many plans, each different offering comes with its own set of administrative challenges. For instance, if you want to offer a vision plan, dental benefits, and a health savings account in addition to your regular medical benefits, those extra offerings would typically come from separate vendors. That means separate contract negotiations, billing cycles, and more administrative burden.

The last thing a human resources department or person needs is more work. When evaluating potential providers, ask them what bundled offerings they provide and how they help simplify the administrative processes behind offering multiple programs and services. A provider who consolidates third-party services can be invaluable in saving your team time and effort while still offering a robust set of benefits to care for your employees.

Leverage the Right Technology

Most health benefits providers offer some type of technology platform for benefits enrollment, and this can be a huge time saver for organizations used to a paper enrollment process. But beyond simply having a technology platform, it’s important to look at what you get from both an HR administrator and employee perspective.

From an HR administrative perspective, you want a benefits platform that supports easy online enrollment and benefits management. Additionally, you want a platform that will integrate with your payroll system and act as the system of record for all elections. With a consolidated platform, you can reduce the complexity of managing multiple data feeds and disparate systems.

From an employee perspective you want a benefits platform that lets employees enroll in and interact with all of their benefits in one intuitive experience. That means a single platform that shows them everything from their health plan enrollment status to the balance in their tax advantaged health savings accounts. By giving employees an easy online experience, you can greatly increase their satisfaction with your benefits offering and reduce the number of questions they’ll have for your HR staff.

It’s Time to Get More From Your Benefits

The decision to switch health benefit providers is a big one, so when evaluating potential partners look at what you truly get with your partnership. Do you get a standard set of benefit offerings, or do you get a lot more? At Portico, we think you should get more. For too long, nonprofits have had to make tough choices about what services, benefits, or staff to cut. We truly believe that organizations like yours shouldn’t have to cut. Instead, we think you deserve to add … capabilities, resources, and experience.

If you’d like to learn about how Portico can help you do more with your benefits, please contact us.

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Ross Eichelberger

Ross and his benefits administration team ensure that the benefits Portico provides truly serve those who serve. He believes that it’s not enough to provide premier benefits; those benefits must be backed with the service and care required to truly improve the lives of those who work within congregations and ELCA-affiliated social ministries. This commitment to providing outstanding service has led Portico’s Customer Care Center to multiple consecutive years being named as a Center of Excellence.

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