Benefits SpecialistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A benefits specialist is responsible for managing and administering the employee benefits program for an organization. They work as part of the Human Resources department and oversee the allocation of employee benefits packages. They must be well versed in retirement and insurance plans and have solid communications skills to explain benefit plans to employees. They typically handle inquiries from employees about company insurance and retirement benefits. They need good attention to detail in ensuring that employees receive the proper benefits package. These specialists work with health care providers, investment brokers, and company management to identify new or better benefits and insurance plans. They also research and analyze healthcare plans, design benefit packages, and evaluate job positions to determine adequate employee classifications and salaries.

Benefits specialists manage employee pension plans, healthcare plans, and 401(k) plans, as well as assist employees with stock options and investment opportunities. They may be required to give presentations on company benefits. They also maintain records of employee benefits. Benefits specialists solve employee disputes concerning benefits and must stay up-to-date on all state and federal regulations pertaining to insurance and employee benefits.

Sample job description #1

Primary responsibilities

  • Assists all employee benefit programs, such as medical, dental, ancillary benefits, life insurance, accident and disability insurance, COBRA, flexible spending programs, and AES’s 401(k) plan
  • Serves as the subject matter expert for management and first point of contact for the Company’s employees regarding all employee benefits issues, concerns, and questions
  • Ensures the successful implementation of new and/or revised AES benefits programs, including collection of employee information and timely notification to employees of pertinent changes
  • Serves as the subject matter expert for processes, administers, and tracks all employee FMLA, workers’ compensation, and/or other similar leaves or absence while ensuring compliance with applicable law and Company policy
  • Assists with orientations regarding employee benefits as needed and ensures eligible employees are provided necessary information in a timely manner concerning AES employee benefits
  • Prepares and ensures the timely completion of medical enrollment forms and affidavits, including beneficiary information
  • Ensures that employee benefits-related paperwork (e.g., Form 5500, 1095s, etc.) is prepared and timely filed with governmental entities, as required
  • Assists the HR Manager with all areas of HR responsibility, when and as needed
  • Generates reports concerning HR activities for AES management, when and as requested
  • Verifies the accuracy of monthly employee benefits’ premiums and maintains data in order to track, verify analyze employee benefits-related costs and claim activities
  • Monitors the national environment for employee benefits options and cost savings, including worker’s compensation coverage
  • Researches and resolves employee benefits issues and works with employee benefits service-providers to address questions and concerns
  • Stays abreast of changes in existing laws, rules, regulations, and best practices applicable to the HR field, and, specifically, employee benefits and payroll administration
  • Handles special projects and all other duties as assigned by the HR Manager

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in HR-related field relevant to the position
  • 3 to 5 years minimum of hands-on HR work experience (including employee benefits and system administration)
  • Certification in HR-related accreditation (PHR/SPHR) is strongly preferred
  • Highly proficient in Microsoft Office (including strong Microsoft Excel and Power Point skills) and Outlook, and substantial internet research skills
  • Experience involving Workday software is essential
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines and multitask
  • Exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate with a wide variety of audiences
  • Strong problem-solving, analytical, and mathematical skills, with the ability to research employee benefits issues and prepare/analyze benefits costs and calculate figures and amounts

Sample job description #2

Position responsibilities

  • Ensures the accuracy of all benefits enrollments in Workday to provide payroll and carriers with accurate eligibility information as qualified life events
  • Performs quality checks of benefits-related data
  • Assists employees regarding benefits questions, claim issues, and plan changes
  • Manages the HSA suspended funds and pending accounts process
  • Supports tracking and delivery of all required compliance in accordance with benefits laws and regulations
  • Coordinates implementation of benefits or related policy and procedure changes, develops benefit orientation and other informational materials and coordinates their dissemination, and the promotion of benefits programs
  • Responds to benefits inquiries from employees on plans, benefits enrollments, status changes, and other general inquiries
  • Processes and administers all leave-of-absence requests and disability paperwork: medical, personal, disability, and FMLA
  • Effectively interprets FMLA and ADA implications as they relate to leaves of absences/disabilities
  • Responds to 401(k) inquiries from employees relating to enrollments, plan changes and contribution amounts
  • Processing benefit and 401(k) contributions with the applicable carriers
  • Assists with annual 401(k) audit
  • Administer the COBRA process in conjunction with carrier
  • Assists with the annual open enrollment process
  • Processing of invoices, reconciliations and billing of all benefits monthly

Requirements

  • Extensive knowledge of employee benefits and applicable laws
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Ability to effectively manage tasks with minimal supervision
  • Must be diligent and persistent in follow-up and completion
  • Capable of multi-tasking and meeting tight deadlines
  • Ability to work and build partnerships across departments
  • Willingness to “roll up the sleeves” and do what it takes to get the job done
  • Works well on a team and collaborates with others but also be able to work independently
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office, especially Excel

Sample job description #3

What you’ll do

  • Oversee benefit administration management to ensure positive employee experience
  • Manage third party benefits administrator relationship and partner with TPA to resolve issues, implement new plans, and maintain the enrollment platform
  • Collaborate with team members to develop benefits program strategy, and identify opportunities for improvements and efficiencies
  • Provide education, coaching, and consultation to HR Business Partners in order to resolve escalated employee benefit issues
  • Lead Annual Enrollment, including requirements review, client acceptance testing, web & communications updates, and troubleshooting
  • Partner with payroll team and TPA to manage monthly and annual ACA/ ESR processes
  • Assist with designing and delivering Total Rewards communications
  • Conduct routine and ad hoc audits of employee eligibility ensuring that eligibility and enrollment is correct across both internal and external systems
  • Develop and implement resources to support Trinity’s wellness program
  • Work collaboratively with vendor partners, finance, and payroll staff to reconcile ongoing, mid-year, and year-end plan financials, plan contributions, and related funding issues
  • Prepare and analyze Total Rewards data for compliance testing and reporting; ensure testing deadlines are met and results clearly documented
  • Assist in benefit plan administration in accordance with IRS and ERISA rules. Ensure compliance with governmental agencies and prepare required filings and disclosures (i.e. Form 5500s, Annual Funding Notice, SARs, and SPDs)
  • Monitor and analyze financial and utilization measures of Health & Welfare and Retirement plan performance; identify areas of opportunity or significant variances

What you’ll need

  • Bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent, relevant work experience
  • 5 years experience with benefit plans including Health & Welfare and Retirement benefit plans with extensive ERISA and defined contribution plan knowledge
  • Experience with vendor management and program implementation
  • Strong project management and analytical skills with the ability to solve complex problems
  • Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, within all levels of the organization
  • Deep understanding of data transmission processes and aptitude to identify and resolve enrollment, eligibility, and payroll issues
  • Ability to influence, interact and, work effectively across Total Rewards and related functions
  • Team-oriented and collaborative spirit
  • Ability to learn and apply new concepts effectively in a fast-paced, dynamic and evolving global environment

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a benefits specialist is $54,100. The compensation will vary based on level of experience, education, and company size.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$53,800$72,800
Los Angeles, California$60,700$82,100
Denver, Colorado$50,600$68,450
Washington, DC$61,600$83,350
Miami, Florida$50,350$68,100
Orlando, Florida$46,500$62,800
Tampa, Florida$46,900$63,450
Atlanta, Georgia$49,200$66,550
Chicago, Illinois$56,550$76,500
Boston, Massachusetts$51,150$82,750
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$48,750$65,950
New York City, New York$64,400$87,100
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$52,400$70,900
Dallas, Texas$51,050$69,050
Houston, Texas$50,800$68,750
Seattle, Washington$58,850$69,250
National Average$46,000$62,200

Sample interview questions

  • What qualities should a benefits specialist have in order to be successful?
  • How do you ensure the benefits that companies offer comply with state and federal employment laws?
  • How long have you worked as a benefits specialist?
  • How would your past employers describe you?
  • What were some of your responsibilities in your last role?
  • How do you determine which employee benefits to eliminate or expand?
  • How do you keep track of costs for the employee benefits?
  • How do you educate employees on their health benefits?
  • How do you ensure employee records are current and accurate?
  • How do you research and propose new benefits policies?
  • What process do you follow to enroll new employees for company benefits?

Benefits Specialist Jobs in Ashburn

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