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How to Update a Benefit Plan When Rates Change

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December 1, 2014

Cathey Pangborn

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It is that time of year again…..Open Enrollment, where benefit rates often change.  See the steps below on how to properly update the rates to your benefit plans.

Before we get started, there are a couple of terms that we need to define to make sure we are all on the same page.  

Note: CS3 recommends that your benefits be setup as Monthly and all of the notes below assume that your benefits are set to Monthly. If you benefits are not Monthly keep in mind you will have to make adjustments to the Employee Contribution to make it the frequency selected for your benefit.

Employee Premium – this is the total monthly cost to insure an employee, not the employer’s cost but total cost charged by the carrier for an employee (if you are not self-insured)
Dependent Premium – this is the total monthly cost to insure only dependents (minus the employee portion) charged by the carrier for dependent coverage only
Employee Contribution – this is the monthly cost that the employee pays per month, unless you have your plans set to your pay frequency then it would be per pay period cost.  

In order to properly update benefits you will need the new rates for both your premiums and employee contribution amounts.  Typically your premiums are not broken down to show dependent only cost, therefore I recommend that you create a spreadsheet to calculate these amounts.  See example below;

Example of spreadsheet breaking down cost of premium and employee contribution amounts

Once you have all of your rates updated on your spreadsheet, then you are ready to update your benefit plans.  Keep in mind timing is very important, since benefit plans feed totals to linked deduction codes in payroll.  Coordinate the timing of these updates with your payroll department so that your deductions are updated at the correct time as well.

I recommend that you update the rates tables first and the benefit plans second.  This is especially important for employers that have Benefit History enabled within Abra Suite or HRMS.    The reason why is because when updating rate tables you are asked if you want to update the employee record (which can create benefit history records).  Unlike benefit insurance plans which automatically updates the employee records when changes are made (which also can create benefit history records).  This assures more accurate benefit history records and helps to avoid duplicate records.

To confirm that you are updating the correct rate tables that are being used by your benefit plans, look on the dependent premium and employee contribution tabs on the benefit insurance plan.

Note: We are not making any changes at this time, only taking note of the rate table names.

Benefit Insurance Plans Detail dialog box screenshot

Benefit Insurance Plans Detail dialog box screenshot showing employee contribution

To update a rate table click on Setup, Employees, Under Benefits, click on Rate Table Setup.

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