BN - Benefits Administration
This document provides an overview of Benefits Administration and it's function in HRS.
Benefits Administration is an automated process that performs a series of tasks that would normally be performed manually by Institution Benefits Administrators. The State of Wisconsin has complex rules regarding eligibility for the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and related benefit plans. The University of Wisconsin offers additional benefit plans over and above those prescribed by State Statutes.
Institution Benefit Administrators may have many tasks assigned to them and little time to navigate these complex rules and perform all the manual entries required to assign an employee to the appropriate Benefit Program, create their Benefit Options, make their elections or perform the entries required when an employee is hired and/or during an Annual Benefit Enrollment period.
Benefits Administration automates many of these processes by creating a benefit EVENT each time there is a JOB action (such as Hire, Data Change, Pay Change, Termination, etc). It will also create an MSC Event when a Benefit Administrator makes a change on the Benefits Personal Data. This is the vehicle used to move employees step by step through the four basic output tasks which are listed below.
- Events created via Job rows or Benefits Personal Data
- Events created by processes (ICI, UIA, MSC Event Evaluation, Term Event Replacement, etc.)
- Manual ADM, SAV, and UIA Events
Benefits Administration will automatically:
- Assign an Event to a Benefit Schedule
- Assign an employee to a Benefit Program
- Prepare appropriate enrollment Options based on the Benefit Program assignment
- Validate and load elections on Base Benefits pages when enrollments are entered either via Self Service or manually
- Benefits Administration is automatically run several times a night
- It can be run ad hoc for an Event using On Demand Event Maintenance
- Employees who are missing values in key critical eligibility fields will be "on hold" from Benefits Administration processing and written to the New Hire Hold Report until the information is added to HRS. For more information about the New Hire Hold report, please reference HR - WED - UW_HR_NEW_HIRE_HOLD .
- Employees who are moving from one Benefit Program to another where benefit eligibility or enrollments may be affected will be written to the MSC Event Evaluation Report until the Benefits Administrator manually Finalizes the Event. For more information on the MSC Event Evaluation Report, please reference: BN - MSC Event Evaluation Report .
- If Benefits Administration is unable to perform a function, an error message will result. For more information on how to handle Benefits Administration error messages, please reference the following KB document: BN - Process Indicators and Event Process Statuses .
There are four main steps to processing an Event through Benefits Administration:
1) Determine the population of Events to process
2) Evaluate eligibility criteria and Assign the employee to a Benefit Program
3) Prepare any available enrollment Options
4) Validate and load elections to the Base Benefit pages
Since Ben Admin will move an Event only one step each time it's run, it will run multiple times a night to move Events through several steps. Throughout the cycle, if errors occur or information is missing, the employee's Event will be put on hold until the issue is resolved or the information is added to HRS. These steps will be discussed in detail in this KB. Below is a visual representation of how Benefits Administration (Ben Admin) works. The Ben Admin process begins when a row is added on Job Data, Benefits Personal Data, or a manual Event is added to the BAS Activity Table and moves clockwise through the process shown below.
BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION STEPS:
1. Determines Population by Assigning Benefit Schedule:
The first step of the Ben Admin process is to identify which Events to process. Typically different Ben Admin schedules will be created for different purposes. For example, there will a different Event Schedule for Open Enrollment (ABE) versus every day Event Maintenance. The types of Events (BN - List of Benefit Events.) are tied to specific schedules so Ben Admin knows which Events to process. (BN - List of Benefit Schedules.)
When you are running Ben Admin ad hoc using On Demand Event Maintenance - you designate the population by entering the employee's Empl_ID.
Once Ben Admin has assigned the Benefit Schedule, it picks up all Open Events in date and priority order. Events that are Closed, Voided, or Disconnected will be ignored.
2. Assigns Benefit Program:
Each JOB row added to HRS or Benefits Personal Data will create a Benefit Event to ensure that Ben Admin will use all available information to evaluate what Benefit Program the employee should be assigned to as of the effective date for that row. The Benefit Program is set up with a set of Eligibility Rules that must be met in order for an employee to be assigned to it. These Eligibility Rules are based on a number of values including: Employee Class, Continuity Code, FTE, Benefits Eligibility Fields 1-5, and the values on the UW Benefits Tab. The Benefit Program dictates if an employee will have their deductions taken on a pre-tax or after-tax basis, how frequently the deductions will take place, what Benefit Plans they are allowed to enroll in and when, their specific category for WRS, and any special circumstances that occur for that employee population.
Since Ben Admin uses key information to determine what Benefit Program to assign an employee to (the same as an Institution Benefits Administrator would), if that information is absent, the employee's Event processing should be put "on hold" until the information is entered into HRS. These employees will be written to the New Hire Hold Report. If Ben Admin is unable to assign a Benefit Program due to a processing error, the employee's Event will be set aside with a status of Assign Error, Assign None or Finalized - Benefit Program None. This may be due to a missing Date of Birth. Ben Admin will also be unable to Assign a Benefit Program for a Termination Event if the employee's Hire Event was entered on the same day (example: Hired 7/1/2015 and Termed 7/15/2015 and both job rows entered on 7/5/2015). If you receive an error message and are unable to resolve it, open a WiscIT and assign it to your AG Group to investigate.
If all information is present, a process called Eligibility Configuration Population will run and translate those values to specific fields on Job Data. Ben Admin will then read those eligibility fields and assign the Benefit Program or reassign the employee to a different Benefit Program if warranted. To ensure that Benefit Administrators take that opportunity to counsel their employees on new or changing Benefit Plans based on those JOB actions, the employees will be written to the MSC Event Evaluation Report and the Institutions will need to manually complete the Ben Admin process through On Demand Event Maintenance.
(Note: If multiple Job Data field changes are made on the same Job row without sequencing them, the Event will be processed as normal to pick up any potential Benefit Program Assignment changes needed and will NOT move to Prep None as noted in the section above unless all changes made have no impact on eligibility. Only one Event will be created in this circumstance.)
Once Ben Admin has Assigned the Benefit Program, the status for this Event will be set to Assigned and the Event will be moved forward to the next step.
3. Prepare Options:
Once the employee has been assigned to the appropriate Benefit Program, the system will evaluate if the employee has an enrollment opportunities based on their JOB Action. For example, if the employee is a new hire or a rehire, they may have an enrollment opportunity. In such cases, the Hire Event is prepared so that the next step of the process allows the Benefits Administrators to make benefit elections on behalf of the employee. If an MSC Event is created because an employee has moved from one Employee Class to another, they may also have enrollment opportunities and/or lose benefits.
For institutions that have chosen to use self-service for new hires, the employees will enter their own elections directly into HRS provided the employee has no prior WRS Service.
If the Event created by the JOB row does not provide the employee with an enrollment opportunity, the process will stop with the assignment of the Benefit Program. The status will move to Prep None and Event processing ends here. This Event does not affect eligibility or enrollment opportunities. (e.g. PAY for a pay increase, or PLA for a paid leave of absence).
If Ben Admin is unable to prepare options and the employee is eligible to enroll, the process will stop at Assign Benefit Program and the status will be set to Prepare Errors. These errors can occur if the employee is missing an Annual Benefit Base Rate (ABBR), or if the enrollment is future dated and there isn't an associated Pay Calendar set up in HRS for the Event Date. If you receive an error message and are unable to resolve it, open a WiscIT and assign it to your AG Group to investigate.
Once Ben Admin has Prepared Options, the status of the Event will change to Prepared and the Event will be moved forward to the next step.
NOTE: Between the 3rd and 4th step of Ben Admin, the Benefits Administrator or the employee using Self-Service will enter enrollment elections into the Event if applicable. Depending on the type of Event (Hire Event vs Open Enrollment Event), the employee will have a certain amount of time to make enrollment choices before the Event is Closed and Finalized. ADM, SAV, and UIA Events will remain Open until a Benefit Administrator either makes elections or Finalizes the Event keeping current defaults.
4. Finalizes Enrollments
After elections have been completed, Benefits Administration will validate whether the enrollments are appropriate given the employee's Benefit Program Assignment and the number and types of dependents for the coverage selected, and load the election rows directly to the Base Benefit pages. This eliminates the need for Institution Benefit Administrators to manually enter the enrollment selections on each enrollment screen.
If Benefits Administration is unable to validate the elections, an Election Error will occur and the rows will not be written to the Base Benefit pages. This can occur if a Benefit Administrator manually entered a future dated ADM or SAV Event and there is no corresponding pay calendar for the Coverage Begin Date (calendars are set up for bi-weekly payrolls for a full calendar year and for a fiscal year for the monthly payroll). It can also occur if the wrong Coverage Code is chosen for the dependents an employee wants to cover, or if the effective date of the dependents is not on or prior to the date of the Event. (example: dependent is added in the system effective 8/1/2015 but the Coverage Begin Date is 7/1/2015).
Once Ben Admin has finalized the enrollments, you will be able to verify the information by looking at the Base Benefit pages under Benefits > Enroll in Benefits >Health, Life, etc. The status of the Event will be changed to Finalized - Enrolled.
Related Policies, Job Aids and Forms
Related Job Aids
- BN - Process Indicators and Event Process Statuses
- BN - List of Benefit Events
- BN - List of Benefit Schedules
- BN - Ben Admin Schedule Summary
- BN - Adding Events to the BAS Activity Table
- BN - UW Benefits Tab Job Aid
- BN - Annual Benefits Base Rate (ABBR)
- BN - Benefits Eligibility Fields
- BN - Continuity Code Benefits Job Aid
- BN - Benefits Personal Data
- BN - Processing Events Using On Demand Event Maintenance
- BN - Reprocessing Events Using On Demand Event Maintenance
- HR - WED - UW_HR_NEW_HIRE_HOLD
- BN - MSC Event Evaluation Report
- BN - Employee Process Status Report
- BN - Running the Populate Eligibility Config Process Ad Hoc
- BN - Self Service Benefits Enrollment for New Hires (eBenefits)