Each year during open enrollment you sign up for health benefits. A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) could be included in the employee benefit package if your company offers the plan.
Sometimes your employer handles the administration of FSA benefits, but often a Third Party Administrator is asked to step in. A Third Party Administrator (TPA) is an independent organization that handles employee benefits administration. Third party administrators are typically hired to handle benefit processing as this can be complex and time consuming for employers. They're essentially outsourced mediators (between employees and employer) in charge of claims processing, benefit enrollment, and benefit management on behalf of your employer.
FSA administration deals with protected health information, which is safeguarded in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). TPAs must comply with these HIPAA safeguards and stay updated on important health regulations that could affect these benefit plans.
Who is my TPA?
A Third Party Administrator (TPA) is the "go-to source" for everything related to your Flexible Spending Account. TPAs can also be referred to as FSA administrators, benefits administrators, or FSA providers.
Your TPA has access to your FSA account including your FSA balance, plan information and guidelines, and plan deadlines. Your TPA can also answer questions about FSA eligible products or FSA eligible services which qualify for your individual plan. Your TPA is also responsible for claims reimbursement.
How do I contact my TPA?
You should reach out to your Human Resources department if you're unsure who your TPA is. If you have an FSA debit card, you can contact your TPA by checking if there is a toll-free number listed on the back of the card.
Each month, FSAstore.com features one of our valued partners as part of our newsletter. This month, we’re happy to present a partnership spotlight on J.W. Terrill. As a market leader in Flexible Benefit administration, J.W. Terrill offers a team of outstanding client service professionals backed by innovative systems and technology – including the use of the TerrillFlex™ Debit Card System.
How important is having access to FSAstore.com for your participants?
FSAstore.com is a valuable resource tool that we are able to provide to our participants as well as to our employer groups. The site makes it easy for participants to view what is FSA eligible and maximize the benefits of their plan. We have had many positive comments about the site and participants really like the money saving coupons that are offered.
Which FSAstore.com tools (Learning Center, Eligibility List, and Calculator) do you think add the most value for your participants?
We have found that our participants are utilizing the Eligibility List more often and are becoming more aware of the items that are eligible. The Learning Center is helpful especially to our employer groups implementing an FSA for the first time, providing information to help them understand the administration and flow of their FSA plan.
What sets J.W. Terrill apart from other FSA administrators?
As a market leader in Flexible Benefit administration, J.W. Terrill offers a team of outstanding client service professionals backed by innovative systems and technology – including the use of the TerrillFlex™ Debit Card System. The TerrillFlex debit card allows our client’s employees immediate access to their accounts by paying for eligible expenses at the point of service with a debit card. J.W. Terrill key component is flexibility: meeting our client’s needs and maintaining compliance. As part of an agency we are able accommodate the special needs or custom requests from our clients. Our benefit administration team of professionals brings years of combined benefit administration experience to our partners.
How do you keep participants aware of upcoming FSA deadlines? Can you discuss how you use your blog (TerrillConnect) and social media (Facebook or Twitter) to keep participants informed of deadlines and other relevant news?
J.W. Terrill communicates FSA deadlines to the participants primarily through email or other media. We regularly reach out to our employers to encourage communication to their employees, and our FSA participants. Currently, we notify clients regarding the changes of FSA through our blog, email blasts, and other social media communication tools.
How do you keep your participants abreast of changes to their FSA (whether Health Care Reform or even the U.S. Treasury “Use it or Lose it” rule)?
TerrillConnect; a value added service for employer groups and our clients to stay up to date with Health Care Reform changes and regulations. Webinars are scheduled for many topics to educate and inform such as Use it Lose it rule. Our webinars are geared for the employer group and participants to maximize their benefit offerings.
Are participants confused about how to use their FSAs? (i.e. do participants ask questions about what products or services are covered?).
A majority of our participants have been in an FSA for many years and are familiar with the program. We direct our seasoned participants and our new participants to the FSAstore to view the listing of eligible items and encourage them to take advantage of all the services offered by the FSAstore. The seasonal creative ad campaigns are most useful to help our participants utilize their funds year round.
Can the industry improve education efforts about FSAs, HRAs and HSAs? How?
Improvement is always needed in any area you want success. J.W. Terrill is committed to providing education services for our employer groups and participants through webinars, seminars and enrollment meetings for the participants. The information provided on the FSAstore.com Learning Center is a valuable resource for our participants.
If you use SIGIS, do you think SIGIS adoption is beneficial for third party administrators? Why?
JW Terrill uses SIGIS when establishing the parameters for the FSA debit card. We find it beneficial as it enhances the capabilities of the FSA debit card, by allowing the participants to purchase eligible over the counter items.
Any other positive feedback you want to share?
We would like to acknowledge our Account Manager Dana (Chuprinski) Gambino for her assistance and direction to enhance our communications to our participants regarding FSAstore. She has been part of our team during the implementation of this program, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with FSAstore and the service platform.