Customer support worth the price
We were looking at having to hire two support staff immediately to support new & renewal business Q4. With Bernie's ease of implementation and instant streamlining effect we were able to defer to Q1 so we can spend much needed time searching, thoughtfully rather than desperately, for our one new staff member. Eliminated the need for a second one.
The fact that I don't have to build out anything or learn how to code to be able to use it and show my clients how to use it. I have one person at Bernie to communicate with and he builds everything needed to make me look good and my clients feel confident in the technology. I truly love not having a revolving phone bank of support or having to create a ticket online and wait for someone to pick it up.
Really can't think of a negative right now and haven't heard anything negative about it from any clients to date.
Open Enrollment 2019 -
For the most part the software is a great tool for open enrollment. It is quick and most employees could elect their benefits without any problems.
As the Benefits Administrator I am receiving a lot of feedback from employees that once you get to Step 3 (the page that encompasses all the benefit elections) doesn't auto generate to the next benefit. Employees have been confused by the fact that you hit "save and continue" and there is a check mark next to the benefit but they can't actually see the benefit because it is higher on the page and you would have to scroll up to confirm you have elected that benefit.
I would also like to recommend that benefits that are available to employees that are no cost to them be put somewhere other than the benefit tab. It is confusing to employees to see STD and LTD listed at zero cost to them. I understand it is a benefit that is offered by the employer and they should be aware of it but it is confusing when you are making an election for something that you don't contribute to.
I appreciate you asking benefit administrators for their feedback. I know it makes the software better and ultimately a better experience for the employees. :)
Response from Bernard Health
We appreciate your feedback and would like to help you resolve your troubles by offering a few tips:
1) "Step 3 doesn't auto generate to the next benefit": We would suggest adjusting the magnification settings on the device so that all content is visible. It may also be helpful to include instructions in the customizable informational box that appears when an employee selects a benefit.
2) "It is confusing to employees to see STD and LTD listed at zero cost to them."¿ We encourage taking advantage of the customizable information box that employees see during enrollment. Many employers also find it helpful to arrange an in-person presentation of employee benefit offerings and a quick BerniePortal tutorial in order to simplify open enrollment. BerniePortal's knowledge base also includes in-depth employee tutorials that should help employees.
Thanks again for your feedback¿as you noted, this can only improve our product. We will keep these items in mind as we invest in development!
It could be better
Created more work for HR during open enrollment. In the past, when employees did not make changes to their health insurance plans, we didn't have to update anything. Now that we utilize the Bernie Portal and it does not reflect the correct information, HR is essentially stuck doing every single employee's open enrollment (so that the employee does not assume they pay $0 when they do contribute). Very time consuming. Changes are not always reflected. I have also encountered employees who information was not reflected correctly even though entered with the previous elections - i.e. dependents deleted for no reason. I also feel like it could have more functionality and tools that are useful to the HR professional. I don't understand why it includes new employee forms - feels a little disjointed.
I think the system has potential. It's pretty user-friendly for the most part. I think it could be valuable to an organization but not every single employee will understand how to make sure they are putting in the proper elections for health insurance.
Not fully functional. Our costs do not show up appropriately. Employees are supposed to see how much they pay towards their insurance and it says $0. Since it says this, they can not use the software which results in HR having to do all of the leg work during open enrollment and through out the year.
I see they offer 1094/1095C assistance. It is not a functionality on my end. I questioned our third party and have yet to hear back on how this could be implemented.
Response from Bernard Health
To improve your BerniePortal experience, I'd like to provide insight into a few of your statements. 1) "Employees are supposed to see how much they pay towards their insurance and it says $0:" This sounds like a configuration problem that can be easily fixed on the back end. I recommend contacting your broker to make the proper back-end adjustments. This way you won't have to do enrollment manually! 2) "I see they offer 1094/1095C assistance. It is not a functionality on my end." BerniePortal has a 1094-C/1095-C reporting functionality that can be activated simply by requesting it from your broker. Our team also offers additional mailing and e-filing services, which can also be arranged if you contact your broker. Overall, we recommend increasing communication with your broker so that BerniePortal functions optimally for your organization. Hopefully this helps!
Eases the burden and keeps things simple
BerniePortal has fulfilled our needs for managing benefits, particularly enrollment for health, dental, and vision insurance and related documentation. We are testing out the PTO module, hoping to replace our basic spreadsheets and email approval system. We've been very pleased with the portal, and recommend you at least check it out to see if it will meet your needs.
The bernieportal leverages technology to handle the communication and paperwork/documentation necessary for managing benefits. The process is seamless, and employees have easy access to information about their benefits. Each month a webinar is offered, which covers new releases and reminders about the tools available.
If you have complex benefits, this may not be the best system...but make sure you test it out first. There are some customizations available. Their wheelhouse is probably small to mid-size businesses.
The total customer experience definitely exceeds expectations. If we have suggestions on how to improve our team is very responsive and listens to our suggestions and usually implements them very quickly.
Some of the employees are our groups don't have access to a computer so they find it difficult to navigate.
The software is super simple! I could list a dozen things that I love about the portal.
I wish we could customize the portal more. I do not like the date feature for new employees.. I wish you could type the date. I also wish their was a button for a passive enrollment.
I've been very happy with the system and service from BerniePortal overall.
Clients have a simple HRIS that allows employees to enroll online.
Most clients the system for enrollment and find it intuitive, easy to use. System is set-up such that the least tech-savvy employee can use the system with a little instruction.
Onboarding- needs to allow employees to save their progress and/or allow forms to be added later. Enrollment-for a waiver of coverage, the active coverage information needs to be required since many carriers ask for this information. Open Enrollment- if a plan is not changing, would like the current enrollment to be reflected or an option for "no change". Ability to add additional website 'hot links' would be nice. Beneficiary form- Beneficiary date of birth, ssn and address fields need to be added since many carriers require this information.
Good Fit for Mid-Size Company
Easy to register with and navigate as a user as well as an administrator. Also customized to what our business needed it for which was a place to house our company's benefits plans and summaries and manage open enrollment and new hire enrollments. The BP helped automate a once manual and paper-only process.
Some delays when navigating to different areas the site, or employee to employee.
Great product, very easy to use. Best Service EVER!
Have our information all in one place, and the data integrates with our agency management system.
Very simple for the administrator to use, and learn. The onboarding feature is especially popular among HR staff. Employees love it too and it is a great compliance tool.
Would like to see more integrations with carriers, but I know they are working on that! Cannot accommodate all of the unique premium set ups some of my clients have.
Super Easy to Use
Bernie Portal, besides making open enrollment a breeze, made the COBRA integration and ACA compliance one of the easiest parts of my job. Love it!
I love Bernie because it's so easy for both me and my employees to use. It's made open enrollment a breeze.
The only con I can think of is that it doesn't integrate bills properly. But I'm not worried too much about that.
Efficiency and continuity of information delivery of insurance benefits in addition to legible enrollment forms with complete information.
The toggle inputs make setting up the portal easy, and, if you have all the pieces (census, subgroup designations, rates, and benefit summaries), a portal can be setup in a day, versus 6-8 weeks on other systems. We utilize the portal mainly during open enrollment since it provides an easy way to post age rates or composite rates and provides a delivery mechanism for ACA required Summary of Benefits and Coverage. It leverages much of the data held in the system to pre-populate enrollment forms and collect actual signatures (via touchscreen or mouse). It also offers Onboarding capabilities (I-9, W-4, Handbook receipts, etc.) for those companies who want to go paperless. We launched the portal with our 50+ clients first in order for them to capitalize on the 1095 reporting capabilities with BerniePortal then rolled out portals for smaller clients at their renewal. The system is compatible with any device that can connect to the internet so even field employees can enroll using their phone. We have monthly support calls with our BerniePortal Account Manager to discuss newly released features and provide feedback on cases in progress.
The system architecture is updated frequently and changes are not always announced, so sometimes we find feature changes that we did not know were happening. Many times these are minor, and improvements, but there have been features removed that we appreciated using. Most rating methods can be accommodated like age rates and composite rates for standard lines of coverage. Disability rate tables can be challenging to setup yourself, but the BerniePortal team is available to handle some or all benefit setups. They have a Defined Employer Contribution mechanism, but currently do not have a Defined Employee Contribution mechanism. Adoption and use by the HR administrator is ultimately needed to gain the most value and utility from the system. Standard client data reports are available for download, but custom reports cannot currently be generated.
Decent Portal for Smaller Benefit Packages
After utilizing Bernie Portal for a few weeks, there are a few comments/suggestions I would like to pass on.
Employee enrollment changes – When I go back to correct errors I have to completely recreate the employees enrollment, from start to finish. When an employee elects to make an HSA contribution change, I shouldn’t have to completely remove and re enter his enrollment just to update something so simple.
Reporting – First, I cannot pull a report with HSA contributions, they come over as a PDF with a page for each employee, even if they are not enrolled in an HSA. I then have to search for changes. Second, our spousal and children vol life or AD&D plans are not tied to the spouse or child, they should be tied to the employee. When I pull a report for the vol life and AD&D plans, have to manipulate the data and move it to the employee as it is populated on a line/record that has census data for the spouse or child. I would like to see the data tied to the employee.
Pending enrollments – some of our plans require additional steps such as evidence of insurability forms to be completed be fore the employee is actually enrolled in the plans. I would like to see Bernie Portal have the option to mark an employees enrollment as pending and thus exclude it from billing and payroll deduction reports.
Bernie Portal has good customization options, and they responded quickly when we needed to make a change to the view/setup of our plans.
We offer 12 different benefit plans with multiple options and tier selections. Bernie Portal isn't equipped to handle this many plans effectively. The reporting feature is not customizable and cumbersome to extract the data that I need. There is also not the option to edit/change an employees enrollment without completely starting over. Pending enrollments that require approval or additional processing such as an Evidence of Insurability form cannot be removed from reports or the billing feature. This causes lots of manipulations to the reports on our end to ensure accurate data.
Our overall experience with BerniePortal is great. Our customers are coming around to using it and those that do, love it. I've been able to get Open Enrollments done quicker, processing is quicker since we are not continually tracking down employees to receive needed information from paper apps and in some cases with small groups, the need for employee meetings has reduced.
I like the clean, easy to read look of the software. It's not a "busy" website where you get lost in knowing what to do next. This software is the most user friendly I've seen from an online enrollment site.
Sometimes I just don't know how Bernie "thinks". LOL. Sometimes the questions asked can be perceived in different ways. For example, Salary updates: "Effective with first paycheck after this date". Answering this question can be complicated since, we as the broker, are often assisting with this question to make sure that Disability rates calculate correctly during renewal.
Admin Staff and Clients Love It
Buying into an enrollment platform was a big decision, and we did not take it lightly. After vetting multiple options, we made the investment with BerniePortal and it has far exceeded our expectations. We would not hesitate to make the same decision again, and would highly recommend this platform to any broker looking to solidify their standing with clients and expand their book all while making things easier for your admin staff!
BerniePortal addresses those pain points that our clients and admin staff have complained about for years, and offers a robust solution. So much more than an online enrollment platform, BerniePortal offers HR tools, compliance help, integrated billing with some carriers, payroll integration and integrated COBRA administration. Our clients rave about the portal and our admin staff needs have decreased since we began using BerniePortal. The service provided by the BerniePortal staff is second to none!
The reporting in BerniePortal could be improved - it is sufficient but could be upgraded to be more intuitive for the admin staff and clients alike.
Experience with Bernie Portal for Benefits Management
Our broker recommended BerniePortal to administer benefits, rather than our current payroll/HR provider's system. In hindsight, we probably would have just stuck with one system. Bernie is probably useful for overall employee/HR management, but since we have only used it for benefits administration, I haven't seen the full picture of what it can do.
It's very easy to add an employee to the system and to pull up individual benefits enrollment information. Terminations are also easy, and COBRA administration is handled by Bernie.
The employee list shows you at a glance who is enrolled, who still needs to enroll, and who needs to "onboard."
Employee enrollment in benefits is user-friendly and straightforward. Employees are shown the costs of each of their selections along the way, and can easily make changes prior to completing enrollment.
The reports aren't very useful. I'm not able to pull up a simple report that tells me (for example) the employee's name plus their enrollment choices. It would be really helpful to be able to do this when reconciling statements from our benefits providers with actual enrollment.
I wish I could add and "onboard" a part-time employee who is not eligible for benefits in one step. Since we only use Bernie for benefits administration, there's no reason for them to "onboard" when they can't enroll in anything.
It's been difficult to get an API / integration going with our payroll/HR software provider.
I had to learn the system on my own. I tried to get some in-person training but was not successful.
Review by Company Administrator
From the brokers admin standpoint the software provides an online solution to administer and maintain benefits, especially for the smaller to midsize groups. It gets more complicated with larger groups that have multiple levels. Working closely with a BP rep that is a good fit for the firm is extremely important to make these build outs and renewals go smoothly.
The software's functionality is fairly easy to use from the standpoint of the brokers admin. I am able to easily train our groups admins to manage their groups benefits, enrollment and renewal process.
The reports feature is limited and not very robust. It would be great to create reports with only the information needed and in the order your like to see it displayed.
Positive over all. Great responsiveness from success team. Buildout process can be challenging.
It is highly customizable which is very valuable to our firm and the small group market we primarily serve.
It tackles online benefits administration and onboarding in a very unique way. It is designed by brokers with brokers in mind. It is intuitive and has a user interface that is easy to understand. It is constantly being updated and improved. It gets better every day.
The build out process can be painful. The build out request form leaves a lot to be desired. There are always a lot of errors in the way the groups and plans are built and because testing a portal is difficult sometimes those errors don't get discovered until the site is live. There is not user guide/manual/step by steps/instructions available so you can't independently trouble shoot, I always have to send an email.
Bernie Portal is great!
I am finding Bernie Portal to be a great value add for my agency. My groups like the portal, it is easy to use, and it helps me get new business and retain what i already have. I am a big fan!
I like the fact that Bernie Portal is so focused on the broker. The fact that they build each website for me and update each year on renewal makes Bernie Portal such a great partner for my agency.
Every now and then i run into something that a group may want to do that Bernie Portal just can't accommodate. Usually however, many of these small issues at some point in time get resolved as Bernie continues to innovate and upgrade their portal.
The only thing that I liked about this software, is that employees were able to enroll into their benefits, and BP would send me a summary sheet.
There is a pto tracker, however it only tracks by hour, and does not work if you have different employees with different amounts of pto earned each year.
BP does not integrate well with many of the big name healthcare providers so even though they give you that summary sheet, you still have to enter the information in yourself.
Customer service is slow and terrible. It takes days for someone to get back to you, and sometimes, it's just to tell you that they still don't have the answer. I also had an instance where another company's documents were uploaded onto our profile for employees to review and sign off on.
Response from Bernard Health
Thank you for taking the time to submit a review! We always welcome your feedback. You mentioned a few cons:
1. "PTO tracking only tracks by the hour and doesn't work if you have different employees with different amounts of PTO each year." Our PTO feature tracks in 15-min increments and PTO Admins have the ability to manually adjust employee PTO amounts. I would suggest asking your broker to help you set up a time for a demo of the feature.
2. "BP doesn't integrate with big-name healthcare providers." We are always willing to speak with carriers about getting an integration set-up! If this is something you're interested in, ask your broker to speak with their Advisor Success rep to get the conversation started between BerniePortal and the carrier.
3. "Customer service is slow and terrible." We're sorry you've experienced this. Your broker is another great point of contact when it comes to answering your questions.
Thanks again for your feedback, hopefully this helps!
Bernie Portal Review
We have made tremendous strides with Administering Bernie Portal internally for our comapny and for our clients. Our new rep,has been nothing but extraordinary to work with. He never takes long to answer, and treats each one of our clients with a sense of urgency, just like we do. We have had our struggles depending on the complexity of the group, but overall we are satisfied with Bernie Portal's software
We love the interface of Bernie Portal and how easy it is for our company and our clients to use. Additionally, the fact that Bernie Portal "builds" and implements our group clients takes that large burden off of us to focus more on sales.
There are a lot of functions Bernie Portal does not offer at all, or other systems offer better. Bernie Portal does not allow different hour eligibility requirements. They do not have a measurement period feature. Recently, Bernie Portal also increased prices for "add on features" so much that we are having difficulty passing this cost onto our clients. Previously the rates were reasonable, now the add on features are extremely expensive.
Bernie Portal review
It is very time intensive to get a group set up correctly in the portal. The carrier forms are not filled out completely. There isn't direct enrollment with the carriers. The carrier forms must be printed out and enrollment completed on carrier website. With not all the information filled in on the enrollment forms it makes it necessary for us to contact the employee to verify information needed for the online enrollments.
It is easy for Employees to complete their benefit elections in one place.
Not all the needed information is mapped onto the carrier forms when enrollments are completed.
Response from Bernard Health
Thanks for your feedback - We would like to help resolve any issues by clarifying a few points on BerniePortal functionality stated in your review: 1) "It is time intensive to set a group up": Every licensee receives unlimited group build outs through their Client Success representative. We suggest reaching out to your Client Success partner to see how you can speed up this process. 2) "Not all carrier form information is mapped onto forms" - BerniePortal's form mapping feature allows users to create custom fields that can be mapped onto any form if the existing option doesn't already exist in the menu. 3) "Carrier forms must be printed out & enrollment completed on the carrier website" - BerniePortal has the infrastructure necessary to allow carriers to pull benefits data. Unfortunately, not all carriers have the same technology & cannot integrate. We suggest exploring BernieBill, a BerniePortal feature that allows carriers to issue bills directly from BerniePortal.
GREAT HR SOLUTION - ESPECIALLY FOR THE COMBINATION CFO/HR ROLE
BerniePortal has allowed me to entirely streamline our HR functions. Insurance renewal time is a breeze, onboarding is a non-event, and we now are compliant on all employment sign-offs, etc. I am able to now financial steer the company instead of reacting to HR events.
- The onboarding solution streamlines the process
- The insurance application process allows for ease of submission directly by the applicant
- We were able to upload our updated Employment Handbook and all related policies in to require signature from employees.
- The PTO solution takes the record-keeping burden off of my group as managers directly approve PTO requests.
- The customer service group is very responsive
- The development team seriously considers user feedback (implementation of a PTO calendar view)
The PTO solution requires a bit more flexibility with regard to rolling-over unused PTO to the subsequent year and/or loading the annual PTO at the beginning of each year
The support team is fantastic
The ease of online enrollment so that we do not have to travel to all the work sites or rely on other agents to enroll core at the same time they enroll supplemental products
functionality and ability to work with it and the development team really listens to your requests for improvement
Some of our plans are not easily integrated because of the carrier requirements. We have several plans that have specific needs that do not fit the standard plans.
Overall experience is great! Support team is easy to work with and responsive. The system is customizable and simple to navigate. Even if employees don't have computer access, the masquerade feature overcomes this issue.
The system is very user friendly and customizable.
The system exports various reports and any SSN's that begin with 0 do not reflect 0 at the start. No major dislikes.
A great product to eliminate quoting and faxing applications to the client.
I feel I can compete with the big boys. I've brought something new to the client and i think that is important.
Once you set the client up, pick the employer contribution, add voluntary then you welcome employees to enroll. You then capture their request and process their applications. The biggest thing for us has been adding voluntary products without the need to bring in an enrollment team.
It can be a lot of work to get a client set up but the end result is client retention and more voluntary sales.