RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Jan. 10, 2014 – Hill, Chesson & Woody (HCW), a health and welfare benefits brokerage and consulting firm that designs, manages and implements employee benefit programs, has announced the addition of its Enrollment and Voluntary Benefits Solutions team. The new unit, headed by Rachel Richards, HCW’s enrollment and voluntary benefit solutions team lead, works with its clients’ HR departments to assist them with their enrollment process and provide them with the best available options for voluntary benefits packages, also known as complementary healthcare benefits.
The team is responsible for working with its clients’ employees to provide enrollment solutions through technology, and to advise them on the health insurance marketplace. Each Enrollment Voluntary Benefits Solutions team member is Federally-Facilitated Marketplace certified (as North Carolina has chosen not to built its own marketplace) and trained to walk through the enrollment process with clients. The team members meet with employees to discuss individual health plans, and handles all inquiries concerning voluntary benefits, including billing, claims and administrative issues. By working with HCW’s Enrollment and Voluntary Benefits Solutions team, clients consolidate all of their benefits into one place and under the same strategy. This includes purchasing non-healthcare or medical policies that can cover related out-of-pocket expenses, such as time off from work when recovering from long-term illness or injury.
The team grew from the original plan of two employees to four due to changes in enrollment and voluntary benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the delay of the ACA’s employer mandate, HCW’s clients and prospective customers increasingly need assistance with employees who are ineligible for health insurance or need to purchase health insurance for their spouses or other family members. In addition to Richards, the team consists of three enrollment specialists – Noemi Castrejon, who is fluent in Spanish and serves as the team’s bilingual specialist, Lindsay Hiatt and Kayla Herring. All three have customer service and marketing backgrounds. The team serves clients from across the state, and at their other locations throughout the country where companies have their headquarters based in North Carolina.
As voluntary benefits are forecast to increase due to wider access to them among employees, HCW plans to add a fifth member to the team in 2015, and a sixth member in 2016.
“Two areas of benefit administration that can consume a HR department are enrollment and the management of voluntary benefits,” said Todd Yates, HCW managing partner. “Our Enrollment and Voluntary Benefits Solutions team serves as an extension of our clients’ HR departments and takes the day-to-day enrollment process off of their plate so that they can focus on other important objectives. The addition of our team helps us better serve our clients by meeting the needs of their employees.”
“As implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues, it becomes more important that a company’s employees can navigate the enrollment process and understand what best voluntary benefits options are available to them,” said Richards. “We anticipate for the voluntary benefits industry to have its greatest year ever in 2014, and we expect our voluntary benefits services to grow as a result.”