Experts in Alphabet Soup
If you ask Gina Marken, founder of Sound Benefit Administration, “what does your company do?” she’ll tell you “we’re glorified bookkeepers,” doing all the things employers and benefits brokers don’t want, have time or expertise to handle.
In reality, SBA owes its success to ever-expanding federal regulations…a.k.a. the proverbial alphabet soup of benefit programs, FSA, HSA, HRA, POP, COBRA…
Back in 2003, consumer-driven health care (CDHC) was new and exciting, and Washington and Alaska had very few third-party companies administering these Federally-regulated plans. SBA was created to fill a need. Before long, COBRA administration was added to the mix, at the time, as more of a nice-to-have, add-on service.
The Rise of COBRA
But, in 2009, the enactment of the ARRA subsidy (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,) requiring the Federal Government to pay 65% of the COBRA premium for any involuntarily terminated employee, meant, suddenly, COBRA administration was not as easy for employers to manage. It’s no surprise the demand for COBRA administration increased dramatically.
Then, along came the Affordable Care Act with complicated age-banded medical plan rates and the requirement that all Americans have credible insurance coverage or pay a penalty. Again, SBA’s services became even more attractive to employers because more people signed up for COBRA than ever before.
Bring on the HSAs
Recently, as companies combat rising premium prices and implement more High Deductible Health Plans, SBA has added Health Savings Account administration to the menu to help employees save and pay for more out-of-pocket expenses. And, while there are cheaper options than SBA out there, our participants appreciate our personal help in wading through the tall grass of self-administration vs. no help from the “free bank” offerings.
Over the years, we’ve grown to accommodate the ever-changing world of health insurance. And, we’ll continue to morph and change and add services as the Federal Government inevitably adds more letters to our alphabet soup collection. What won’t change is our commitment to provide our clients with personal, yet efficient and integrated help administering their Federally-regulated plans, whatever those may be today or in the future.