August 24, 2012
Jaeger & Flynn Assoc., Inc.
Thomas P. Collins, Jr.
The Preferred Group
Jaeger & Flynn Assoc., Inc. and The Preferred Group Announce Affiliation
Latham, New York – August 24, 2012 – (JFA) of Clifton Park and Glens Falls, NY and The Preferred Group (TPG) of Latham, NY have announced an agreement to join their group benefits operations. The two agencies are partnering to combine their extensive plan design and underwriting expertise in the employee benefits field. The affiliation also allows JFA and TPG to utilize their resources to offer their clients a full range of human resources support services, including flexible spending account, health reimbursement account and health savings account administration; online enrollment services; COBRA administration; human resources consulting; wellness program administration; and consolidated monthly billing administration.
About Jaeger & Flynn Assoc., Inc.
Now in its 25th year, Jaeger & Flynn Assoc., Inc. is a full-service employee benefits, insurance and human resources brokerage, consulting and administrative services firm. Consistently ranked as one of the largest group benefits agencies in upstate New York, JFA serves corporate clients domiciled in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont along with client locations in California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington. From its offices in Clifton Park and Glens Falls, NY, the 64 employees of JFA serve the needs of more than 800 businesses and 25,000 individuals.
About The Preferred Group
The Preferred Group is a full-service Third Party Administrator providing flexible spending plans (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), Transportation Benefit (CRAs), insured medical, and self-insured dental and vision plans. Now in its 25th year, the 18 employees of The Preferred Group serve more than 300 public and private sector clients and 25,000 individuals throughout New York. The Preferred Group is endorsed for FSA and HRA programs through the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust and has a history of providing superior service to the school, municipality, union, and association client base. Its mission is to provide fast, accurate and customized services while cutting administrative costs through streamlined processes.
THE PREFERRED GROUP
19 British American Blvd West, 2nd Floor
Latham, New York 12110
December 31, 2010
On December 23, 2010 the IRS issued Notice 2011-5, the purpose of which was to modify Notice 2010-59, 2010-39 IRB 396. In it the IRS clarifies the use of debit card for the purchase of prescribed OTC medicines and drugs. In summary, a health debit card can be used to purchase OTC drugs and medicines if 5 specific criteria have been met. The excerpt below is from the notice and outlines the 5 criteria:
“After January 15, 2011, health FSA and HRA debit cards may continue to be used to purchase over-the-counter medicines or drugs at drug stores and pharmacies, at non-health care merchants that have pharmacies and at mail order and web-based vendors that sell prescription drugs, if: (1) prior to purchase, (i) the prescription (as defined in Notice 2010-59) for the over-the-counter medicine or drug is presented (in any format) to the pharmacist; (ii) the over-the-counter medicine or drug is dispensed by the pharmacist in accordance with applicable law and regulations pertaining to the practice of pharmacy; and (iii) an Rx number is assigned; (2) the pharmacy or other vendor retains a record of the Rx number, the name of the purchaser (or the name of the person for whom the prescription applies), and the date and amount of the purchase in a manner that meets IRS recordkeeping requirements1; (3) all of these records are available to the employer or its agent upon request; (4) the debit card system will not accept a charge for an over-the-counter medicine or drug unless an Rx number has been assigned; and (5) the requirements of the guidance referred to in paragraph I.02 of this notice are satisfied. If these requirements are met, the debit card transaction will be considered fully substantiated at the time and point-of-sale.”
For more information click here.
June 11, 2010
Preferred Group Plans Inc Receives 2010 Best of Albany Award U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
NEW YORK, NY, May 19, 2010 -- Preferred Group Plans Inc has been selected for the 2010 Best of Albany Award in the Insurance category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2010 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.
The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association
U.S. Commerce Association
APRIL 16, 2010
Plan Ahead for your OTCs!
Thomas P. Collins, Jr., President
The new health care bill is here and it is starting to shape the future of our beloved Flex Plans. You are probably starting to see all sorts of information out there that may be misleading in the explanations of what is going on and how to deal with it in relation to your Flex Plan. First, we want to let you know that it isn’t as bad as some media sources are making it sound. That being said, restrictions are coming that need to be taken into consideration when planning for your Medical FSA benefit allocation.
The first change is coming to Over-the-Counter medications and supplies (OTCs) starting on 1/1/2011. Yes, the bill is saying that OTCs will only be allowable through a Flex Plan if and only if your doctor writes a prescription for those specific medicines and supplies. Hope is not lost, you will still be able to continue Flexing your medical pre-tax dollars for Claritin®, Aspirin, and diabetic supplies as long as you have your doctor write the prescription stating what you will be buying over the counter and the medical condition that you have. Some items, like contact lens solutions, will still be available without this proof. An example of a prescription that we could accept allows the use of over the counter pain medication for headaches as directed by the manufacturer.
This change means that you really have to determine carefully what you will need in the way of “open” OTCs through 12/31/2010 and what you will have a prescription written for starting on 1/1/2011. As a benefits administrator, we think that this is a step backwards in the evolution of Flex Plans but it certainly isn’t an insurmountable obstacle. We believe that the lawmakers were just trying to close a loophole in the tax code that allowed almost anything close to being medically related to be purchased with pre-tax funds. We don’t think that the purchase of band-aids was intended to be a tax free purchase.
As with all changes in law some good happens at the same time that some bad happens. We think it is very important for everyone to explain to their elected officials both the good and the bad. If enough people contact their politicians maybe this new OTC rule can be scaled back or eliminated. It may not happen for the upcoming year, but maybe we can get OTCs to be again generally acceptable for what they treat and help reduce the paper chase and headache that this part of the law will inevitably create. Wouldn’t it be great to have the lawmakers prescribe the pill that will fix the Over-the-Counter drug problem!
APRIL 1, 2010
The Preferred Group has released the following updates regarding you Pre Paid Benefits Card:
Things you should know about payment
AT YOUR OFFICE VISIT
Did you know that if you have a health plan with co-insurance (not a co-pay plan), it is NOT necessary to pay your provider at the time of your visit?
It’s true! Here are a few key things you should know:
1. Health care providers (including dentists and eye doctors) are contractually obligated to bill your insurance carrier FIRST. Now, they would like you to pay while you’re in their office, but you are not obliged to. You do not need to pay anything until you have received your explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your health or dental plan and the bill from the provider that shows the balance owed AFTER your insurance has paid its portion of the claim.
However, if you feel obligated to pay your estimated portion at the time of service, make sure you hold on to your itemized receipt as it may be required to verify the Card transaction.
2. The only charge you SHOULD pay at your office visit is a co-payment if you have a plan that requires it.
Your Prepaid Benefits Card is NOT your insurance card that shows you are eligible for benefits; it is simply a payment method for your out-of pocket expenses. Once you receive your bill in the mail from an eligible provider, you can use your Card to pay the “patient balance due” amount.
3. Here are the steps to follow when you get a provider bill to make a payment using your Card:
- Write your Card number on the portion of the bill that allows for credit card payment. (If your bill does not have that option, you can call the provider’s billing office and they can take your number over the phone.)
- Sign in the appropriate area.
- Provide the expiration date.
- You may also need to include a CVV. The CVV is the three-digit number on the back of your card near the signature panel.
- Return the completed form to your provider.
As required by the IRS for these types of accounts!
Why did I get a receipt request letter
when I used my Card?
Now that you’ve been using your Prepaid Benefits Card, you may have received a letter asking for a receipt to verify the eligibility of a purchase. We do all we can to automatically verify your Card transactions, as required by the IRS. However, if we’re unable to, you will receive a letter or email requesting itemized receipts for card transactions.
We want to help you understand and/or reduce these letters, so here are a few things you should know.
How to AVOID receiving a letter:
1. If you have a deductible plan with co-insurance, don’t use your Card to pay the provider at the point of care. It is not necessary to pay the provider until you have received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) and/or the bill with the patient balance-due after it had been submitted to your insurance. You can then write your Card number on the invoice and return for payment. However, if a doctor or dentist insists that you pay at the point of service, use another form of payment and then submit a manual claim.
2. Only use your Card for dependents covered under your health plan.
3. Only use your Card at pharmacies that can separate eligible items from non-eligible items. To find out which merchants are participating, visit the web site or call the number on the back of the Card.
You WON’T receive a letter:
1. If you have a benefit plan with co-payments.
2. When prepaid card transactions are verified electronically.
If you are asked to provide a receipt, it must include: merchant or provider name, service received or item purchased, date of service, and amount of the expense. Cancelled checks, handwritten receipts, your Card transaction receipts or previous balance receipts cannot be used to verify an expense. If you don’t have the receipt, you can contact the provider who can usually supply the receipt from their files.
Paying with your Prepaid Benefits Card makes it easy and keeps cash in your wallet!
The Potential of Identity Theft
When Using Your Benefits Debit Card
As a benefit debit cardholder, you may be subject to identify theft. However, there are many safeguards and checks already built into the way your Card works. Nonetheless, we are committed to helping protect your identity and will have a complete Red Flags Identity Theft Detection Program in place on or before the effective date of June 1, 2010.
There are certain “red flags” or warning signs that identity theft may be occurring. As the administrator of your benefit plan, we (name of TPA) will comply fully with the government’s Red Flag Rules under which we are required to develop and implement a program to identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, and activities that may indicate identity theft.
Here are some key points for you to remember to help protect your identity when using your benefits debit card:
1. If we become aware that your Card has been compromised and your identity may be at risk, we will notify you as soon as possible.
2. Keep your Card in a safe location and review your Card activity periodically for any unauthorized transactions. If you note any unusual activity, or if your Card is lost or stolen, please notify us immediately at 1-866-989-8995.
3. If any “red flags” indicate that identity theft may have occurred, or your Card is lost or stolen, we will advise you what action needs to be taken and, as necessary, will close your Card immediately and issue a replacement.
Our Identity Theft Detection Program, combined with your efforts to monitor the use of your own benefits debit card, will minimize the small risk of identity theft.
Please continue to enjoy the convenience of your Card for your out-of-pocket health care expenses, knowing we have procedures in place to respond quickly and effectively should any compromise occur.
December 31, 2009
The Preferred Group, New York State’s Premier Third Party Administrator, is proud to announce major changes in its administration.
Mr. Thomas P. Collins, Sr. CPA, will assume the role of Chairman of the Board and will function in a consulting capacity. Mr. Collins is an employee benefits specialist with over 30 years of design experience. He was the founder and Executive Director of the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund and co-designed the vision plan for the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations in New York. Mr. Collins has been Treasurer of the Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Vice President of the Mason Insurance Company and Vice Chair of Universal Benefits, Inc. Mr. Collins believes that this realignment will position the firm to continue its positive momentum towards a bright future in the third party administration of employee benefits.
Mr. Thomas P. Collins Jr. has been named President and Treasurer of the group and will assume the responsibility of strategic planning and for the company financials. He previous served as both COO and CEO and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Kidney Foundation. Mr. Collins has played a key role in the growth of The Preferred Group and continues to develop internal programs that have led to The Preferred Group’s success.