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What Does a Benefits Administrator Do?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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A benefits administrator is part of the human resources department at many companies, and it is this individual's job to explain the different aspects of the benefits packages offered by the company to the other employees. He or she answers questions, prints and prepares literature and explanatory information packages for employees, and acts as an intermediary contact for the insurance company for employees who need to ask the insurance company a question. It is necessary for a benefits administrator to understand all aspects of the benefits packages offered by the company, which may include health, dental, or vision insurance, as well as life insurance, retirement packages, or other types of health savings accounts, among others.

In many cases, a benefits administrator will have a college degree in human resources, though some are able to work their way up by gaining work experience without the help of a degree. Some pursue degrees in other fields such as business or communications, but human resources tends to be the most likely background. Larger companies frequently have entry-level benefits administrator assistant positions available in the department, particularly during the times of the year when they are most busy, such as during open enrollment when employees are free to add or change benefits as needed.

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As a general rule, a benefits administrator will spend a great portion of his or her day on the phone, fielding questions from employees as well as the insurance company. It is necessary for a benefits administrator to be a real people person, and to be able to explain complicated concepts in simple, straightforward ways. Benefits packages can be complex and confusing, and the employees will expect to be able to get a clear answer to their questions from the administrator. For new hires, orientation sessions, or open enrollment periods, the administrator may be expected to put on a brief presentation in front of a group to explain the benefits package and any changes made to it.

Most benefits administrators will distribute materials during these presentations to thoroughly explain the plans to employees. It may be his or her responsibility to write and create these materials in the first place, though in some cases they will come directly from the insurance company. Regardless, it is most important for a benefits administrator to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as a meticulous eye for detail, in order to be successful in his or her job.

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