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As employers search for ways to cut costs, an eligible dependent audit may be one way to save money without losing benefits. By trimming ineligible dependents like grown children and ex-spouses from benefit plans, companies stand to save between $570,000 and over $1.5 million, according to a survey by Mercer. “Health plan dependent eligibility audits allow plan sponsors to identify ineligible dependents and then take action to ensure that only those dependents eligible for benefits are enrolled in a given plan,” said Dan Priga, National Business Leader of Mercer’s Performance Audit Group. “Particularly, with so many companies looking to cut costs any way they can, more and more are coming around to the fact that monitoring dependent coverage equates to sound financial management. “Plan sponsors have a fiduciary duty to administer their health plan in the interest of eligible participants and their eligible dependents, known as the ‘exclusive benefit’ rule,” Priga added. “So in addition to spending money on nonqualified participants, they risk running afoul of federal requirements as well as the Internal Revenue Code.” Univers Workplace Solutions is one company joining the ranks of those who understand the value of eligible dependent audits. The enrollment solutions provider offers dependent eligibility verification – or DELVE – audits that utilize different approaches to suit the employer’s wishes, whether that includes an amnesty period for employees with misinformation, or a zero-tolerance policy with penalties for inaccuracies.

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