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Benefits Specialist

The University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

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Administrative Jobs
Institutional & Business Affairs, Health & Medical Services, Human Resources & Employee Development
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Position OverviewThe University of Kansas seeks a Benefits Specialist to assist with the administration of benefit programs including 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 actively engages with all employees to advise and manage benefit selections, and aids with any discrepancies. 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. Job Description40% - Administer 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 that 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 complete payroll adjustment transactions as necessary. Generates and works reports to analyze data to determine eligibility and accuracy of payroll deductions.
  • Works as a collaborative team member within the Benefits Unit, Human Resource Management and Payroll to ensure continuity, accuracy, and efficiency for all employee supported benefit programs.
  • Ensure that the University remains in compliance with applicable regulations and policies.
25% - Counsel 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 or terminates employment.
  • Represents KU and the Department of Human Resource Management, often as a first point of contact, providing exceptional customer service in support of the University's mission. Provide clear, accurate and complete information to employees, family members, supervisors, department chairs, vendors, and others.
  • Inform and educate 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
  • Serve as lead contact for GSHI questions and issues via email and phone; respond to students and departments timely with accurate information; research complex questions and consult with HRM colleagues and supervisors when necessary.
  • Determine eligibility for subsidized GSHI coverage by coordinating with HR/Pay, campus departments, and the insurance company for domestic graduate students.
  • Counsel students, faculty, and departmental personnel on GSHI benefits and eligibility and refer them to the appropriate resources if deemed ineligible for subsidized GSHI.
  • Determine 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.
  • Research student issues and work 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
  • Assist with and provide support for voluntary retirement processes, KPERS Payroll and KU Payroll reporting duties as needed. Become knowledgeable in all aspects of KU Benefits to be able to provide team support.
5% - Other duties as assigned including, but not limited to:
  • Monitor HR/Pay testing, system loads and interfaces for accuracy and compliance with benefits processes. Participate in analyzing problems and developing procedures in the benefits area.
  • Provide HRM Benefits recommendations on new system implementations and upgrades.
  • Participate 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. One year experience with MS Office products, particularly Excel.
  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.
Additional Candidate InstructionsA 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, November 1st and will remain open until a qualified pool of candidates has been identified.
Contact Information to ApplicantsMelissa Cole
[email protected] Advertised Salary Range$40,000- $42,000 Application Review Begins01-Nov-2021 Anticipated Start Date29-Nov-2021


Working at the University of Kansas 

Join the University of Kansas, and you’ll become part of a Jayhawk family that spans the globe. Wear your KU shirt in London, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Nairobi or anywhere else, and you will likely hear a resounding “Rock Chalk!” from a stranger. Of course, the appropriate response is an enthusiastic “Jayhawk!” Because, after all, they’re not really strangers, they’re family.

The Jayhawk community is united by more than 150 years of tradition and by our commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge, transforming the academic experience, and creating solutions through innovative research. KU’s mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.  

The University of Kansas is the state’s flagship university and one of just 66 invited members of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). We consistently earn high rankings for academics and recognition as a premier research university.

KU faculty and staff embrace our role as the state’s flagship university, AAU member and R1 institution that serves the state, nation and world. We celebrate the energy and compassion that infuse the Jayhawk spirit; and, we remain true to KU’s historic values: the elevating force of education, the transformative power of research and the healing power of service.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

The University of Kansas is committed to a learning and workplace environment that is representative of our nation and global society, accepts and values everyone, appreciates our common humanity and understands that our multiple differences are the cornerstone of academic preparation, professional excellence and distinction. KU must be a place where all people feel they belong and have access to resources and support that help them attain their educational and professional goals.

We recognize there are inequalities and privileges generated by historical and persistent intersecting differences by race, ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, abilities, religion, regional background, veteran status, citizenship status and nationality. And we hold ourselves accountable for policies, processes and programs that appreciate these and other differences and create more fair, safe and just learning, working and living environments for KU students, faculty and staff.


KU offers a broad array of undergraduate and graduate study programs, and we fulfill our mission through academic and research programs of international distinction, coupled with outstanding libraries, teaching museums and information technology. These resources enrich the academic experience for students from all 50 states and 112 countries, and provide enrichment resources for KU faculty and staff.


The university attains high levels of research productivity and recognizes that faculty are part of a network of scholars and academicians that shape a discipline as well as teach it. KU staff are integral to our research success, participating in and supporting discoveries that expand knowledge and improve lives.


The university and our employees serve society through research, teaching and the preservation and dissemination of knowledge. KU's academic programs, arts facilities and public programs provide cultural enrichment opportunities for the larger community. And, KU offers educational, research and service programs throughout the state. KU employees are encouraged to participate in and serve the campus and surrounding communities in a way that is meaningful to them.

International Dimension 

KU offers more than 100 programs of international study and cooperative research for KU students and faculty at sites around the world. The university offers teaching and research that draw upon and contribute to the most advanced developments throughout the United States and abroad. At the same time, KU's extensive international ties support economic development in Kansas.


The University of Kansas, our students and employees are committed to excellence. We foster a multicultural, inclusive environment in which the dignity and rights of individuals are respected. Intellectual diversity, integrity and disciplined inquiry in the search for knowledge are of paramount importance.

Our City and State 

KU sits atop Mt. Oread in the center of Lawrence, a town full of natural beauty and culture. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine named Lawrence one of the best college towns in the United States. Lawrence is home to more than 100,000 people, and has a charming, Midwestern friendliness that welcomes visitors and celebrates diversity. In addition to KU, Lawrence is home to Haskell Indian Nations University, the premiere tribal university in the United States.

Lawrence’s historic and thriving downtown features restaurants, nightlife and local shops offering unique finds that you won’t find anywhere else. The town has more than 50 parks, an encompassing mixed-use trail, and quick access to biking/hiking trails along the Kansas River and around Clinton Lake. A five-minute drive from Lawrence, Clinton Lake offers fishing, boating, beaches, camping and other outdoor activities.

Located just 40 minutes west of Kansas City, Lawrence offers the appeal of a mid-size, suburban town with quick access to the amenities of a large city, including an international airport. The Kansas City metro area is home to world-class museums and cultural activities, Jazz clubs and other nightlife venues, expansive shopping options, and exciting professional sports with the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC.

Kansas is in the center of the country, making it convenient and cost effective to fly or drive to destinations throughout the United States. Far from flat, the Flint Hills, just 90 minutes from Lawrence, offer panoramic vistas that showcase the breathtaking beauty of America.

Making KU Your Home 

Something about Lawrence is magnetic. Long-time residents are never surprised when a KU student or employee from out of state decides to make Lawrence their permanent home. And, even those who do leave often find themselves returning to “the nest” at some point in the future. In fact, Lawrence has been named by several publications as one of the best places to retire.

At the University of Kansas, you’ll join a global Jayhawk family and find a place to call home.

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