Diversified Administration, Inc. of Hollywood, Florida, specializes in providing solutions that streamline the health benefits administration process while enabling employers to maximize pretax benefits to their companies and their employees. As a result, business owners generate more tax savings and lower health insurance premiums while their employees increase their disposable incomes by paying less taxes. As one of the more unique companies in the broad health benefits industry, DAI also works with health insurance agents to help them deliver more value to their group insurance clients rather than targeting their services only to employers with company-sponsored health plans,
Every successful business owner has at least one person they can point to as a source of inspiration and leadership. Susan Luskin, President and CEO of Diversified Administration, Inc. claims two – her father, Irving Pruce, and her husband, Paul Luskin.
“My father provided a shining example of how to treat other people, not just in business, but in all my interactions with people,” says Susan. “He taught me to be honest, to give back to the community, to observe and practice our religion (we are Jewish), and to put family first.
“Paul taught me how to run a business. His family started an electronics business in Baltimore in 1948, and moved it to Florida in 1968. Like my children, he started out as the son of the founder and went on to take over the business as my father-in-law got older. I feel especially fortunate that my father and husband shared a deep love for each other. That’s something you don’t often find in a family business, where conflict between family members frequently gets in the way.”
Challenges for Third Party Administrators
When asked about the hurdles DAI faces as a third-party administrator company, Susan identified the most challenging as the constant changes in the industry – and the fact that they often turn out very differently than they first appear.
“I remember when everyone thought the introduction of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) would cause Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to fade away,” she recalls. “Then there was ‘Hillary Care’, which would have banned FSAs outright. We also thought the ObamaCare exchange would lead to the demise of COBRA, but our COBRA business has tripled since then. Now people are talking about changing the 1094/1095 for the 2019 filing in 2020 because Trump got rid of the individual penalty.
“Whatever happens, we have to be prepared so we can give our clients the best advice and service. For example, the Department of Labor is now talking about eliminating the small employer exemption for 5500s. It takes a lot of research and planning to adjust to these constant changes. But if and when the DOL does away with the 5500 exemption, we’ll be ready!”
The relationship between DataPath and Diversified Administration, Inc.
How has Diversified Administration, Inc.’s relationship with DataPath made life easier for Susan and her staff?
“DataPath’s administrative software has been a real game-changer for us,” she says. “We couldn’t get much of anything done without it. When we first started, we had to order check stock for each employer/client to print the reimbursement checks. Now the software enters the account information for everyone on blank check stock. We also couldn’t do direct deposit without the software.
“The fulfillment service for COBRA is a life saver. The ability for participants in all our lines of service to check their accounts online, make COBRA payments, repay impermissible card swipes and much more is invaluable!”
Focus on the Areas You Do Best
Anyone who has served in a management capacity in a health benefits administration or consulting company knows that in today’s rapidly evolving environment, constant innovation is a must. To that, Susan would add another important requirement for achieving success: focusing on the areas you do best (or as she puts it, “those areas that speak to me”) while keeping up to date on what is happening in the industry as a whole. This philosophy played a major role in determining DAI’s services and areas of focus.
“I decided early on not to participate in the pension/retirement aspect of the business because it doesn’t excite me the way the FSA/HRA/COBRA arena does,” she explains. “Of course, we provide our employer clients with summary plan descriptions (SPDs), Welfare Benefit 5500s and 1094/1095 forms. To keep up on areas we don’t directly serve, I stay active in state and local chapters of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). With so many facets of the health care industry to contend with these days, you can’t do too much networking!”
Look Before You Leap
When asked what advice she would give other professionals in her position, Susan responded with a cautionary note about jumping on the latest fad in their respective industries.
“No matter how promising they look, treat industry innovations like the first model year of a car,” she warns. “In other words, let someone else test them out before diving headfirst into the water. For example, we didn’t immediately jump onto the debit card bandwagon because I saw some things that needed to be straightened out in a regulatory manner. I wanted to make sure I understood the full ramifications of the service before presenting it to our clients.
About Susan Luskin
Married to her high school sweetheart, Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Education and a master’s in Spanish linguistics, making her ideal for serving Florida’s many bilingual communities. A firm believer in the value of family owned businesses, Susan brought both of her sons, Jeremy and Benjamin, into the business more than 10 years ago. In addition to their job responsibilities, they are also being groomed to take over the company when – and if – Susan retires. She has two cats at home and one who lives in the DAI office.
For over three decades, DataPath has been a leading innovator of benefits administration solutions.