If benefits administration managers across the United States appear particularly upbeat these days, it's for good reason.Their responsibility for overseeing employee benefits plans-which many managers have long viewed as a nuisance-is undergoing a significant transformation. In an ongoing process, a pipeline is being built that directly links group benefits insurers to employees in matters pertaining to the individual plan-with employers in many instances serving as intermediaries.

Even if employers still have a large stake in plan administration, the emergence of Web-based solutions supporting employee benefits administration is undoubtedly making their processing duties easier.

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