Benefits Specialist - 21964BR

Benefits Specialist

Human Resource Management
University of Kansas Lawrence Campus
Work Location Assignment: 
Employee Class: 
U-Unclassified Professional Staff

Position Overview

The University of Kansas, Human Resource Management team is searching for a Benefits Specialist to work with current, prospective, and retired employees in benefit administration and planning. The successful incumbent will demonstrate competencies in excellent customer service and communication skills, experience in working with data and systems to audit and manage election changes or corrections, as well as have time management skills in balancing daily work tasks with cyclical activities, events, or program planning. This position will also require critical thinking and strong problem-solving skills to explore and solve discrepancies or issues ranging in complexity.

KU’s Benefit Specialist team must be able to manage a variety of conversations that could impact benefit availability, rates, or eligibility of our workforce, understanding and being knowledgeable of the different employee designations and the associated available benefit opportunities. The successful team member helps the KU workforce with planning and considering options for life events such as parental or health leaves, disability insurance, retirement, etc. This involves handling complex conversations in a way that is helpful and informative to the employee or family members as needed and coordinating with plans and ancillary services as appropriate.

This position also works reports to ensure that employment changes are correct or if there is a benefit impact that needs to be adjusted or corrected across system platforms and to ensure the employee is informed of changes, options, and deadlines as aligned with federal, state or university regulations and/or policies.

The University of Kansas administers benefits that are through the State of Kansas or as approved through the Kansas Board of Regents. This includes but is not limited to medical, dental, vision, basic and optional life insurance, long-term disability, KPERS (Kansas Public Employees Retirement System), state of Kansas Deferred Compensation Plan, the Kansas Board of Regents 403b Mandatory and Voluntary Retirement plans, and other voluntary benefits offered to staff, faculty and graduate students at KU.

This position works collaboratively in a team environment to ensure that the University’s total reward objectives are met. Broad latitude is given to perform a variety of administrative functions under minimal direction from the Benefits Manager in a remote setting. Benefit team members will be required to be present on the Lawrence, Kansas campus 3-4 times annually for special events.

Job Description

40% - Administers benefit programs, such as health insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans. Maintains accurate benefits records; prepares necessary documents to implement, change and/or terminate coverage; and enters data into various databases (MAP, KPERS, HR/Pay,, UnitedHealthcare Partner Center, Empower Retirement) to ensure timely and accurate coverage and deductions. Assists in interpreting and implementing statutes, regulations, policies and procedures from federal and state government, the Board of Regents, KU, the State Employee Health Plan, KPERS, and the student insurance company as they pertain to the various benefit programs.
  • Follows policy and procedures while using individual acumen in analyzing information to determine employee eligibility, audit documentation requirements, monitor employee enrollment through activation, change or termination of benefit coverage.
  • Evaluates individual employee situations to determine and execute solutions facilitating benefit changes, new enrollments, or termination.
  • Manages data in numerous formats to ensure employee enrollment, changes and terminations are addressed according to policies, procedures and required deadlines. Ensures all employee data and information are handled confidentially and stored securely.
  • Research employee deductions and completes payroll adjustment transactions as necessary. Generates and works reports, from multiple systems, to analyze data to determine eligibility and accuracy of payroll deductions.
  • Works as a collaborative team member within the Benefits Unit and with Human Resource Management and Payroll teams to ensure continuity, accuracy, and efficiency for all employee supported benefit programs.
  • Ensures that the University remains in compliance with applicable benefits-related regulations and policies.
25% - Counsels employees regarding benefit programs including: medical, prescription drug, dental and vision insurance; voluntary insurance offerings; Basic Group and Optional Group Life Insurance; Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA); Kansas Board of Regents Mandatory and Voluntary retirement plans; KPERS and the 457 Deferred Compensation retirement plans; long-term disability; and the impact to benefits when the employee goes on leave without pay, terminates employment or has a change in appointment.
  • Represents KU and Human Resource Management, often as a first point of contact, providing exceptional customer service in support of the University's mission. Provides clear, accurate and complete information to employees, family members, supervisors, department chairs, vendors, and others.
  • Informs and educates faculty, staff, and graduate students by providing one-on-one counseling, through university-wide meetings/trainings, and presenting informational sessions as requested by departments or University sanctioned groups/committees.
25% - Administration of Graduate Student Health Insurance (GSHI) Program
  • Serves as lead contact for GSHI questions and issues via email and phone; responds to students and departments timely with accurate information; researches complex questions and consults with HRM colleagues and supervisors when necessary.
  • Determines eligibility for subsidized GSHI coverage by working collaboratively with International Support Services, coordinating with HR/Pay, campus departments, and the insurance company for domestic and international graduate students. Process department subsidy in HR/Pay timely and accurately and handle any discrepancies identified.
  • Researches student issues and works collaboratively with the insurance company on the resolution, while maintaining accurate and timely communication with the graduate student on the status of their issue.
5% - Cross training of all HRM Benefits tasks
  • Assists with and provides support for voluntary retirement processes, KPERS Payroll and KU Payroll reporting duties as needed by becoming knowledgeable about all aspects of KU Benefits to be able to provide team support.
5% - Other duties as assigned including, but not limited to:
  • Monitors HR/Pay testing, system loads and interfaces for accuracy and compliance with benefits processes. Participates in analyzing problems and developing procedures in the benefits area.
  • Provides HRM Benefits recommendations on new system implementations and upgrades.
  • Participates in team meetings and special projects such as Pre-Retirement Seminars, Open Enrollment activities and Retirement Luncheon events as needed.

Required Qualifications

  1. Bachelor's degree or an Associate's degree and 2 years of related experience or High School diploma and 4 years of experience with Human Resources or a related field.
  2. Demonstrated experience with MS Office products, particularly Excel as outlined in application materials.
  3. Customer service experience as outlined in application materials.
  4. Experience handling confidential information as outlined in application materials and interview.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Professional experience with the State Employee Health Plan and/or KPERS.
  2. Excel Intermediate Skills - Filter, Sort, Vlookup, and Conditional Formatting
  3. Demonstrated highly effective and professional interpersonal, verbal, and written communications skills.
  4. Experience conducting research or analysis on complex issues.
  5. Experience working efficiently and accurately under pay period and calendar year-end deadlines.
  6. Experience working in a team-based environment.
  7. Experience working with diverse groups and multiple levels of hierarchy within an organization.
  8. Experience working in a remote or hybrid setting.

Additional Candidate Instructions

A complete application consists of:

A cover letter addressing how required qualifications are met
3 Professional References

Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Application review will begin Monday, May 9th, 2022 and will remain open until a qualified pool of candidates has been identified.

Contact Information to Applicants

Melissa Cole

Advertised Salary Range


Work Schedule

This is a hybrid position primarily working remote but will have the occasional on campus presence approximately once per quarter. Working hours are Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm.

Application Review Begins


Anticipated Start Date


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Posting Information
Posting ID:
Human Resource Management
Primary Campus:
University of Kansas Lawrence Campus
Work Location Assignment:
Employee Class:
U-Unclassified Professional Staff
Application Review Begins: