Benefit Solutions, Inc. (BSI) is a third party administration (TPA) firm that helps employers and brokers develop comprehensive, compliant employee benefit packages. They also provide benefits administration services for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and COBRA. Headquartered in Midlothian, Virginia, BSI currently serves more than 500 clients throughout the United States.
Driven by her passion to help employers save on taxes through well-designed employee benefits plans, Linda Meyerhoffer founded BSI in 1998 with the primary purpose of providing expert benefit administrative services and excellent customer service. Over the past 20 years, BSI has grown into a highly respected TPA firm. The company’s clients depend on BSI to keep them up-to-date on the constantly evolving employee benefits landscape and in compliance with ERISA, COBRA and ACA laws. As a Certified Public Accountant, Linda believes that everyone should pay taxes – but no more than they have to as allowed under the laws of the land.
We asked Linda, President of Benefit Solutions, Inc., about her philosophy and approach to running a business where specialized expertise and a high level of customer service are essential.
What hurdles have you overcome as a TPA and how?
“Our biggest accomplishment is that we have been in business for 20 years. When we started out in 1998, I had never worked for a TPA or provided TPA services before. I had been a CPA and Controller for a large real estate firm that used an outside TPA for FSA services, but that was it. As a result, I’ve had to learn everything related to our lines of service from scratch.
I have read the Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA) manuals on every related subject several times to make sure I know it all forward and backwards. I developed all our procedures, checklists and hundreds of documents we use in our office every day. I had to learn to sell and convince brokers and employers that we are the best. And I trained most of our employees. After 20 years, I have gotten pretty good at these diverse skills, but I always have more to learn.”
What steps have you taken to become an innovator in your industry?
“Benefit Solutions has worked hard to be different from our competitors by diversifying and adding the personal touch. I’m a CPA, a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and a licensed group health, life and annuity agent in Virginia, but we don’t do brokerage work. Instead, we partner with group health insurance agents to provide everything they don’t already provide, which makes life easier for the agents and their clients. My background allows me to offer a unique perspective to my brokers and clients that they can’t get anywhere else.”
How has benefits administration software streamlined day-to-day tasks for Benefit Solutions, Inc.?
“When I started in business, with the initial goal of administering only FSA plans, I researched whether we should buy outside software or write it ourselves. Back then things were easier – no grace periods, no debit cards, no ACHs – so I was tempted to write our own software. I’m glad I chose to go with DataPath because the industry has become much more complex. DataPath makes it easier to administer all of our lines of service, including HRA, COBRA, Transportation and Retiree Billing. We’re a successful small business now because we have DataPath software as a great tool in our tool belt.”
What has been your inspiration?
Linda Meyerhoffer credits her success as an entrepreneur and business leader in large part due to the love, inspiration and support received from her mother, Pearl Marie Groome. In particular, four lessons her mother imparted paved the way for Linda’s success in business and in life.
“Mom taught me to be independent and never depend on anyone else for my happiness. She stressed that hard work and determination will be rewarded, and that I could be anything I wanted to be. Most importantly, she constantly reminded me that family should always be the most important priority in my life. The rest is just gravy. Mom made the world a better place through her example, and I am a better person because of it.”
What piece of advice would you give to other professionals in your position?
“Remember that your reputation is everything. Everything you do reflects on your business. The way you act in public, what you post on Facebook, etc. As a result, only provide the services that you can do well. Don’t add a line of service unless you are ready to dedicate adequate resources to ensure compliance with all federal and state rules and regulations. Make sure you have the knowledge and expertise to do it right. Finally, keep in mind that there are no short cuts. Doing it wrong or doing it halfway will only harm your reputation, which is everything.”
DataPath, Inc. is a leading provider of cloud-based solutions for tax-advantaged benefits administration.