As health care costs continue their steady climb, companies have begun ramping up their containment efforts in hopes of stemming the tide. One way to combat such excess is to set and maintain firm guidelines to ensure your benefits are being provided only to those dependents who qualify for the plan. This year, more and more employers are verifying dependent eligibility as a means of enforcing provisions and identifying ineligible claims that would have been paid otherwise.

WL Benefits’ partnership philosophy reflects the paternalistic mind-set that many organizations have toward their employee population. We understand the need to deliver a unified message to all employees regarding their role this process and the positive effect it can have on their future plan.

DEV Defined

DEV is a Dependent Eligibility Verification audit of an employer’s health/welfare plan to ensure accurate eligibility. During this process, WestLake will require that all employees enrolling dependents on Medical, Dental and/or Vision plans submit proof of eligible status for each dependent.

Have You Considered a DEV?

The purpose of a DEV audit is to ensure the appropriate people are using the benefits offered by an employer; ultimately controlling costs.

Who is Subject to DEV?

During the initial audit, the employees enrolling a dependent in benefits (medical/dental/vision or as specified by the employer) will be required to submit documentation.

For the ongoing administration of the DEV program, new hires or newly eligible employees enrolling dependents will be required to submit documentation. In addition, employees reporting a family status change or adding dependents during open enrollment will be required to submit documentation for dependents newly added to the plan(s). Ongoing administrative support by WL Benefits is an optional service.

Low-Hanging Fruit

On average, WL Benefits has seen approximately 12-15% of a dependent population fail to provide necessary documentation to remain covered. Carrying those extra people not only costs your organization considerable dollars year after year, but can also hold you liable under ERISA’s fiduciary obligations.

How Does this Save me Money?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, each dependent is worth approximately $3200 to a health plan annually. Therefore, the return on investment opportunity can be determined by multiplying the total number of dependents removed each dependent removed being multiplied by the average dependent cost to determine the annual savings to the plan.

What’s my HR Department’s Involvement?

WL Benefits takes complete responsibility for the DEV process. The assistance required from the employer is to provide a dependent listing and approve the communication materials and timeline. WL Benefits is responsible for communicating the process, collecting the documentation, and removing the dependents from coverage through payroll and the carrier(s).

For more information on how DEV audits will help contain costs, please contact a WL Benefits consultant.