What We Do

We provide professional administrative services for employee benefit plans, both for stand-alone plans and interdependent plans and services. Your plan and its underlying participants are serviced by our underlying custom technology, experienced personnel and efficient communications. Services are tailored to the needs of each client, working in tandem with client consultants and other employee benefit plans.


Plan Design & Communications

Our management team works with each client to design the plan or combination of plans to best meet company goals and to maximize the tax and cost advantages for your employees. Our technology allows for the use of your web site, or your color scheme and logos to give all online communications the "feel" of your own home web site. Informational fliers are personalized with your plan-specific information. Good communication is critical to the understanding and utilization of employee benefit plans.

Plan documents and summary plan descriptions are reviewed for compliance with regulations. Documents for new plans or amendments to existing plans can be generated by Tri-Star.

Enrollment Services

Are you tired of handling all of the different enrollment forms during your annual enrollment? Whether or not Tri-Star administers your benefit plans (including insurance plans), we can capture employee enrollment electronically and eliminate time-consuming paper handling, data entry and reconciliation errors. The system restricts enrollment to your specific enrollment period to only those eligible for your plans. Your employees see only your plan options on a site that is personalized with your organization's logo. Think of the time savings!

For employee benefit plans administered by Tri-Star, participants have the ability to research qualifying expenses, view current elections, enroll in plans, change information (direct deposit, email address, etc.), all using secure, state of the art technology. Eligible employees enroll through the online system, again, reducing your processing time. Customized paper enrollment forms can also be generated for your new hires or those without online access.

Streamlining this process allows your benefits and information technology staff to focus on other tasks important to your organization. Eligibility and enrollment data is shared between you, Tri-Star and insurance carriers according to HIPAA compliant 834 EDI file Standards. You get enrollment information to establish payroll deductions and your insurance carrier receives coverage data for covered employees. Your deductions are in sync with Tri-Star's enrolled participants and you don't have to key deductions or sort and store paperwork!

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Flexible Spending Accounts are tax-advantaged accounts for medical and dependent care expenses.

Tri-Star offers administration of these Internal Revenue Code Section 125 authorized plans. Accounts are maintained for employee-contributed or optional employer-contributed funds. Payments to participants are streamlined through direct deposit, and/or use of the FSA debit card, or optionally by check. Tri-Star can accept data file feeds from your insurance carrier to auto-adjudicate claims for participants, therefore, eliminating paperwork filing by participants.

Limited Purpose FSAs are available for employers with High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) to offer tax advantages for qualifying dental and vision expenses. Tri-Star will work with you to design the plan or combination of plans to best serve your needs.

  • Plan Design
    • Consultation on plan design
    • Preparation of Plan Document & Summary Plan Description
  • Enrollment Communication
    • Enrollment fliers for open enrollment and new hires with links to tax-savings calculators, qualifying expense listings, IRS Publications, etc.
  • Enrollment/Account Maintenance
    • Planning worksheets and tax-savings calculator via the web-site
    • On-Line annual enrollment through a secure web-site
    • Customized paper enrollment available
    • New hires, changes in status, terminations, etc. maintained via electronic feeds from employers
  • Claims Reimbursement
    • Auto adjudication and payment of claims processed through a data file feed from your insurance carrier
    • Debit Cards, optional, eliminate paper filing for qualified, electronically-supported expenses
    • Next day processing of on-line claims filing with follow up faxed supporting documentation
    • Optional fax or mailing of paper claims
  • Ongoing Participant Communication
    • Welcome letter via email
    • Account status with each reimbursement
    • Periodic account reminders
    • On-line, real-time, 24/7 account detail and summary
    • Blog for current topic updates
    • Live chat for customer inquiries
  • Employer Reporting
    • Weekly reimbursement registers
    • Monthly status reports via secure email
    • Customized reporting on request, available from in-house software
  • Customer Service
    • Toll-free, live, customer service representative available for participant and employer support
    • On-line account access 24/7
    • On-line forms and links to Internal Revenue Service topics
  • Plan Compliance
    • Qualifying expense review
    • Discrimination testing services
    • Plan document compliance

FSA Stored Value/Debit Cards

The IRS authorizes the use of a stored-value card/debit card with a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account. Tri-Star offers this FSA Debit Card as an option for employers. The card can be used to pay qualifying medical expenses.

The FSA Debit Card makes it fast and convenient for participants to access the money they set aside in their Healthcare FSA. When leaving a medical office visit, purchasing a prescription, or incurring a qualified medical expense, they simply use funds remaining in their Healthcare FSA, stored on the Card, to pay for the expense. In some specific cases they will not even have to follow up with documentation to Tri-Star.

The debit card will work only at the following providers:

  • Physicians, dentists, hospitals, clinics or other medical providers, or
  • Merchants who sell prescription drugs and/or over-the-counter medicines and supplies who have installed the IIAS control system.

Support for use of the debit card is electronically stored when using the card at a medical provider for a copay matching your employer's health plan benefits (not that of your spouse's policy through their employer) or if used at merchants with the IIAS system. In these electronically supported, auto-adjudicated claims, participants should not be asked by Tri-Star for follow up documentation. However, it is important that participants keep support for these expenses in case audited by the IRS.

Participants receive an email notice if documentation is required. They must respond to this request and support the use of the card or their card will be inactivated.

The value on the debit card stays in sync with the balance available in Tri-Star's system. Whenever a participant files a claim for an expense, when not using the card, the card balance and the available balance with Tri-Star are reduced accordingly.

Stored-value cards associated with Healthcare FSAs can significantly reduce the paperwork filing requirements on participants. With the right health insurance plan design, they are a value-added service. Tri-Star will work with each employer to determine if this is a good solution for your Healthcare FSA.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA)

In response to compounding increases in the cost of medical plans, a growing number of employers have been designing new medical plan options, sometimes referred to as Consumer Driven Health Plans, that include higher plan deductibles and cost sharing coupled with an HRA. Guidance, consisting of Notice 2002-45 and Revenue Ruling 2002-41 clarify the tax preferred treatment of these plans.

HRAs can be designed to:

  • Help employers reduce premium costs with higher deductible plans while minimizing the impact on employees,
  • Allow carryover and accumulation of annual unused account balances for funding post retirement medical benefits for retirees (fostering early retirement incentives),
  • Provide tax-sheltered payouts to retirees for unused sick and vacation pay, and/or
  • Address Postemployment Benefit Needs for employees and retirees, including GASB 45 reporting requirements,

HRAs are similar to Health Care FSAs, but different. The HRA must:

  • Be entirely employer funded
  • Pay only for substantiated section 213 medical expenses

And may allow for:

  • Carryover of unused amounts to future years
  • Reimbursement to employees, including retirees, for health insurance premiums - including COBRA and Long Term Care Insurance
  • Continued access to funds by former employees and retirees

Tri-Star administers stand-alone HRAs as well as HRAs that interact with underlying medical plans and/or FSA. In designing your upcoming plan(s), please contact us for more information.

Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement Number 45 (GASB 45)

GASB 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers for Post Employment Benefits Other Than Pensions, dramatically changed the way state and local governments report the future obligation for Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEBs). GASB 45 requires public employers to report the annual cost of their retiree medical, life insurance and other non-pension benefits in the same way they report annual pension costs, on an accrual basis for their financial statements.

For employers, this requires new actuarial valuations for the liability every 2 or 3 years (depending on the number of retirees), recording the liability and then either funding or shrinking the obligation.

Bonding requirements can be significantly reduced by partially funding the obligation. Due to the technical complexity of this requirement, most covered employers will seek professional assistance in:

  • Actuarial Services to quantify the obligation
  • Consulting Services to help determine a strategy
  • Investment Advisory Services for funding
  • Trust and Custodial Services
  • Legal and Compliance Assistance
  • HRA Administration to fund the obligation

Tri-Star's comprehensive solution aids employers with any or all of these services.

COBRA and HIPAA Premium Continuation Administration

Tri-Star offers the following COBRA and HIPAA Administration services. We can provide all COBRA/HIPAA services as a turnkey service or we can share responsibilities as you may require. They will be outlined in detail in the “COBRA Administration Procedures Manual” and mutually agreed upon.

  • Initial Notice of COBRA Continuation Coverage Rights
    • Provide and maintain original document for employer use
  • COBRA Qualifying Event Notice
    • Provide covered employees and qualified beneficiaries under COBRA, notices in writing of their rights to elect and continue to receive COBRA continuation coverage under the Plan, including model language recommended for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Qualified Beneficiaries will be notified when COBRA continuation coverage has terminated
    • Annual open enrollment renewal notices. Payment coupons issued for renewals.
  • HIPAA Services
    • HIPAA Notifications
    • Initial Notices for new employees or those newly receiving qualifying coverage
    • Notice when an employee or dependent experiences a qualifying event
    • Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act notices, and other communications
    • HIPAA Certificates of Creditable Coverage on termination of coverage
  • Eligibility Reporting
    • Provide monthly eligibility updates to each Plan Sponsor
    • Provide insurance carriers or plan administrators with regular updates (as frequently as twice per week) of eligibility changes via electronic interfaces
  • Premiums
    • Issue personalized payment coupons for monthly contributions due to the Plan (including subsidy rates for ARRA Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs))
    • Convenient premium payment option via electronic transfer
    • Collect premiums (including administrative charges) from or on behalf of continuants and forward premiums paid to the Plan Sponsor
  • Monthly Plan Sponsor Reports and Employee Data
    • Report of notices sent
    • Premiums collected and of the status of each continuant electing coverage
    • Reporting of premium subsidies for Plan Sponsor use in preparing quarterly Form 941
    • On-going internet access to real-time employee data
  • Beneficiary Customer Service
    • Toll-free, live, customer service
    • On-line account access 24/7 with real-time information on their payments and coverage

Custom Benefit Statements

Employers today provide many benefits to employees that add to the total cost of employment. You value your employees and want them to understand the importance of their dedication to your organization. Tri-Star works with you to design, produce and distribute personalized employee benefit statements to summarize all of their benefit plans and compensation. Your personalized cover letter adds that needed face-time to communicate matters you consider most timely and important.

Tri-Star is invisible to your employees. We capture the employee-specific data, collate it with text specific to your plans, produce a professional multiple page booklet and mail these to your employees. Our staff works with you to select the proper style and graphics, all within your budget!

Employees get plan-specific information (including follow-up contact information) and a summary showing the value of their full compensation package. Keeping your employees happy and helping them feel appreciated will help with employee retention. Contact us today for information on how we can help you communicate this in today's complicated benefits environment.

How We Do It

Our stability and continual growth since 1987 are indicative of our success. Our technology, personnel and communications, together, are essential in defining who we are and how effectively we serve each and every client and participant.


Technology

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Tri-Star's ongoing investment in technology, namely our proprietary software application, Beneflex®, benefits the employer and the participant. Our flexibility allows us to respond quickly to client customization needs and ad hoc report requests. Technology efficiencies afford us the ability to handle a growing customer base, control personnel costs, pass on technology advances to clients and maintain a competitive price.

Participants as well as employers benefit from feature-rich functionality and real-time account data 24/7. In a high tech environment, our customer service staff can process data efficiently and have access to participant information to ultimately provide hands-on support for the participants. We continue to make the personal touch, the ability to talk to a real human being in the central United States, a priority for service to each and every participant.

People

Expertise is a product of knowledge, length of service and dedication. Each and every employee of Tri-Star is dedicated to providing personal, accurate, timely service to clients and their employees. Permanent Tri-Star employees have an average of 18 years experience in administration of employee benefit plans. Each incoming employee participates in an extensive training program to insure premier participant and client service. Since 1987, Tri-Star's staff has continued to grow in number, but also individually, in expertise. We are people helping people. We are dedicated to optimal, state-of-the-art service at a competitive price.

Communications

Customer Service

Society today has moved far into the technology arena. In many cases, technology in a service industry causes a loss of personal contact. We at Tri-Star maintain that the personal touch is still important. Phone calls are answered by a live customer service representative. Participants can still get that non-matrix interactive service that makes you feel your questions matter. Customer service representatives field participant questions as well as review claims. With this approach, these representatives have both the knowledge and the access to information to resolve participant inquiries, timely and with efficiency.

Employee Communications

Successful employee benefit plans are dependent on accurate, complete communications. Tri-Star utilizes client-specific communication materials, both in electronic or printed format, to inform your employees of their specific plan options, coverage and requirements. Technical support and real-time participant account information is provided through Tri-Star's online tools 24/7. Your employees need answers…we have the resources and are available!

Employer Communications

It is important for you to keep abreast of changes in regulations that affect your specific employee benefit plans. We are members of The Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC) and the Charter Class of Accredited Service Providers. Technical updates from these organizations as well as participation in annual seminars provide us the information to keep your plans in compliance and you up to date on current developments or upcoming changes. Regular newsletters and email communications keep you in touch with matters that could impact your plans and employees.

Who We Are

History molds an organization, the mission drives the future of that organization and an effective management team insures achievement of incremental goals and the overall mission. The right definition of who we are has been, and continues to be, our recipe for success in servicing your plan and its underlying participants.


Tri-Star's Mission

Our mission is to provide one source for your daily benefits administration. Tri-Star has the flexibility, with in-house, customized software, to address your unique employee benefits administration needs. We manage your benefit plans efficiently and cost effectively to free your time for other daily obligations. Our experience, technology, versatility and flexibility relieve you of time-consuming repetitive tasks. Visit our What We Do section for information about our specific services.

Tri-Star's History

We began as a joint venture partner with Centerre Bancorp of St. Louis, Missouri. Our purpose was to provide Section 125 Flexible Benefit Plan Administration Services to correspondent banks. In 1987, after a larger regional bank purchased Centerre, Tri-Star became an independent corporation and continued to provide services to existing customers, while extending its reach beyond the banking business.

During the fourth quarter of 2005 Tri-Star acquired EzFlex4U.com of Kansas City, Missouri. The merger combines the outstanding data and systems capabilities of Tri-Star with the strong marketing and educational resources of EzFlex4U.com. The two companies have worked together under a joint venture agreement since 1999 and the merger represents the opportunity for both companies to expand both their services and marketplace. The combined company will continue to maintain offices in both the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas.

Since that time, we have continued to grow, adding services to What We Do and expanding our customer base to regional and national companies/organizations.

Tri-Star's Management Team

  • Ken Dixon, Sales
    • Ken Dixon is the primary consultant charged with account responsibilities. He will maintain that relationship through the implementation phase and on an ongoing basis. Ken is a CFC (Certified in Flexible Compensation) and a CPA with five years public accounting experience, seven years experience as a controller with responsibility for employee benefits for a 1,000 life employer, and 19 years experience as a flexible benefit plan consultant. He is a member of The Employers Council on Flexible Compensation and the Employee Benefits Association of St. Louis.
    • Ken has been responsible for the implementation of new flex plans for many employers over the years, including public school systems, universities, banks, insurance administrators, hospitals and private corporations. He has also been responsible for the outsourcing of plan administration for Edward Jones, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Pulitzer Newspapers and Peabody Energy Corporation.
  • Pam Mallory, Director of Operations
    • Pam graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a BS in Accountancy. She has experience as an auditor, accounting manager of a corporate division serving multiple independently owned co-ops, as well as experience in third party administrative services of employee benefit plans.
    • Pam joined Tri-Star's management team in 2008. She has worked for a nation-wide third-party administrator of Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Account, and Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit Plans since 1989. She brings with her, expertise in management of corporate operations, plan design, communications and marketing, as well as claims administration. She was responsible for implementation of plans for state and university, public school, as well as private employers throughout the United States. She is responsible for marketing and communications for Tri-Star.
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