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TASC Uses SEER for Software and Delivers Improved Productivity and Cost Savings With Software Development

Background
As one of the nation’s largest privately held third-party benefits administrators, Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC) provides a wide range of employee benefits solutions to clients of all sizes across all 50 states. The services they provide include flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, health savings accounts, COBRA administration, and other products designed to assist Human Resource leaders with corporate benefit and risk compliance administration.

Challenges TASC Faced
TASC is experiencing rapid growth--over 20% every year--and the company’s product development capabilities and capacity needs have been growing at a similar rate. “We develop most of our product administration software internally and we wanted to be better able to measure our productivity within the software development function. It can be maddeningly hard to measure software development productivity, and you can’t improve what you can’t measure”, explained Karl Richards, CIO of TASC.

TASC needed to measure productivity improvements within the software development team as they improve their development processes and implement a new continuous software delivery model. “Our goal is to be able to measure our results so we can clearly understand the impact of our actions and demonstrate the value we are contributing to the organization,” said Richards.

The number one challenge for CIOs is defending and demonstrating how much software development costs. Because software is activity-based, you can’t just deliver a bill of materials. The costs to write software have a lot to do with the amount of functionality the project is designed to deliver, its level of complexity and the desired level of quality, as well as the capabilities of the software development personnel, the processes, tools, and other project environmental factors that can influence productivity.

Solutions
After considerable research and exploration, a consultant suggested that Richards look at SEER for Software. While Richards had heard of these estimation methods being used by government agencies and large development shops, at the time he didn’t think that it would be useful or applicable for midsize businesses like TASC. The consultant suggested that the path to measuring software improvement was by using software estimation tools and modeling and then tracking actuals against those estimates. “It can be maddeningly hard to measure software development productivity and you can’t improve what you can’t measure”, explained Karl Richards, CIO of TASC.

Results TASC Experienced
After working with Galorath to better understand the SEER solution, TASC decided to implement SEER for all new software development projects. TASC was able to achieve more than was originally planned and derived several important results for the organization that enhanced both the productivity and the credibility of the TASC IT team.

Faster Estimating and Improved Productivity
Richards reports that the first thing they noticed was that his team was able to deliver project estimates much faster using SEER for Software. The tool is designed to take and analyze a series of inputs to quickly estimate the cost and schedule to actually build the project. For most companies, this process requires a significant amount of effort to be invested upfront simply to deliver an estimate. Richards commented, “Not only are we faster at delivering the estimates, we no longer need to have our best and most costly resources spending time on the estimation process. We’re now able to empower our Project Managers to take over that role.”

Unleashing Previously Hidden Data to Drive Results
Over the last year, TASC has been estimating projects in SEER and then returning to review benchmark data after the project has finished. That process has allowed them to also develop a mechanism to track project execution productivity over time and therefore be able to analyze trending and react accordingly.

“All that data is being captured in SEER today and we had no way to obtain that data before,” said Richards. “The data also helped us learn about the complexity of the functions we’re developing and gain a better understanding of our risk analysis throughout the Software Development Life Cycle.” By request, Galorath collaborated with and delivered a special dashboard tool to TASC that allows it to report how well projects are going and to track productivity on groups of projects over time.

Early Visibility to Critical Business Decisions
For TASC, one of the most measureable accomplishments was experienced almost immediately when on a large integration project, SEER demonstrated that TASC was heading down a path of unfavorable economics. Because of the early visibility, changing direction allowed the team to deliver an 82% Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on this project instead of a negative net value, saving both time and lost opportunity cost.

That kind of early visibility enhances credibility with the leadership team and has also given the team a level of confidence to look at using SEER for vendor evaluations as it contemplates full software module outsourcing for certain projects. Richards says, “I know that I will never have enough resources to accomplish everything requested of IT, so I see SEER giving me the intelligence to spend IT dollars as strategically as possible, and that’s a competitive advantage for TASC.“

TASC Receives Honor from Benefits Selling Magazine

Madison, Wis. (November 13, 2013) - TASC, a national leader in employee benefits plan administration, is proud to announce that after a two year absence the “Which third-party administrator offers the most comprehensive service?” category made a return to the Readers’ Choice Awards of Benefits Selling magazine. And just like in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 TASC was named runner up in this category!

The magazine’s readership of 55,000 + benefits brokers who sell group and voluntary benefits nationwide voted TASC an Honorable Mention award for being the third-party administrator which offers the most comprehensive services.

When recognizing TASC in 2007 the magazine said “This Third Party Administrator appears to do it all, offering administration and service for a wide variety of products. But the real secret to this company’s success has to be its continued focus on the economy’s driving force: small businesses.”

“It’s one thing to be in the market saying good things about yourself, but when a large group of knowledgeable industry insiders take it upon themselves to honor you, that really says something,” says TASC Chief Executive Officer Daniel N. Rashke. “TASC will continue to work diligently to offer the most comprehensive service available for the benefit of our Clients, Participants, and Providers.”

TASC Adds Two New Service Offerings

Madison, Wis. (October 30, 2013) – TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) provides innovative, tax-advantaged employee benefits programs to businesses large and small, and has released two new service offerings— Non-Discrimination Testing and Form 5500 Preparation. Designed as stand-alone or add-on services, these offerings help ensure the compliance of various employee benefits plans.

Form 5500 Preparation
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 5500 is used to report information concerning employee benefits plans. All employers with 100 or more employees who participate in a health and welfare benefit plan must complete and submit an IRS Form 5500 with applicable schedules within seven months of the Plan Year’s end. Each IRS Form 5500 must accurately reflect the characteristics and operations of the Plan being reported.

TASC’s Form 5500 Preparation collects the benefits-related employer data, then completes and delivers to the employer an IRS Form 5500 along with instructions for submission. Our user-friendly electronic tools save Clients time and money, and include assistance in collecting data from insurance carriers and/or service providers, thorough preparation of Form 5500 and all schedules, filing instructions, and a schedule of submission deadlines. This process completely satisfies employers’ Form 5500 filing requirements for the health and welfare benefits they offer… up to eight benefits plans at one low price!

Non-Discrimination Testing
Of all the requirements associated with Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Group Term Life Insurance, and Self-Insured Medical Plans, none is more crucial or confusing than Non-Discrimination Testing. Employers who fail to test annually risk being subjected to a host of fines and penalties.

TASC delivers full compliance with evolving regulations and administers more than 15 different tests, all conveniently packaged and with easy-to-understand service. TASC’s Non-Discrimination Testing service features user-friendly tools to ensure that the tests are conducted correctly. Designed to handle all types of Plans, employers, and industries, test result notifications are fast and understandable, and most important, corrective guidance is thorough if a test fails.

TASC’s Compliance Suite
TASC’s team of industry and governmental experts delivers full compliance with evolving regulations through easy-to-understand service and instructions. TASC monitors legislative and regulatory changes, helps Clients comply with evolving rules, and assists if a Client’s Plans is reviewed. Only TASC has the skill and know-how to ensure Plan compliance for Clients large and small, at a fraction of the competitors’ cost!

TASC Adds New Board Member

Dr. Fred Robertson joins TASC’s Board of Advisors.

Madison, Wis. (October 29, 2013) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefits plan administration, has announced the addition of Fred Robertson, MD to the TASC Board of Advisors (BOA). Over the years TASC has endeavored to appoint Board members with experience and expertise in the many different disciplines and industries crucial to the success of TASC.

Dr. Robertson joins current BOA members including TASC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Rashke, Steve Cretney, Lori Cross, Linda Hoff, Michael Petrushka, Douglas Weisenberger, and Jeanan Yasiri Moe. Robertson spent more than a dozen years as a practicing anesthesiologist before becoming the President and CEO of GE Marquette Medical Systems. After this post, he served as Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, then as President and CEO of TomoTherapy Inc.

Since retiring from TomoTherapy in 2011, Robertson has been a member of and now serves as Board Chairman for the Morgridge Institute for Research Board of Trustees. He also serves on the board of the University of Wisconsin Foundation, currently as Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee. He earned his medical degree from and is a faculty member with the Department of Anesthesiology at UW–Madison’s School of Medicine & Public Health.

Rashke is very pleased with the addition of Dr. Robertson to the TASC Board. “I look forward to working with Dr. Robertson. I think the expertise that he brings rounds out our Board and will provide fresh insight into healthcare,” says Rashke.

TASC Donates Proceeds from Book Signing

TASC donates $750 to Jewish Social Services (JSS) following a book signing event!

Madison, Wis. (July 15, 2013) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration, has made a donation to the Jewish Social Services (JSS), a United Way of Dane County agency. This gift was made in connection with the appearance of TASC’s CEO and owner Dan Rashke’s uncle Richard Rashke to promote his new book, Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America’s Open Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals.

Useful Enemies is a controversial and groundbreaking work of Holocaust and legal history that is already receiving a wave of advance praise.  By dramatically recounting decades of systematic cover-ups the book illuminates how the American government—from the White House to Congress, from the FBI and CIA to the INS—waged a concerted campaign to keep European Jews out of the U.S.—and knowingly allowed hundreds of Nazi war criminals to enter and reside in the United States.   

At the end of May, Richard Rashke visited Madison, where he delivered a talk at Barnes & Noble and was honored at a private lecture and reception. Before the visit, TASC arranged to donate a portion of the book signing proceeds to the JSS. The result was a donation of $750 to the agency.

JSS is the only certified Board of Immigration Appeals agency in Dane County [Wisconsin] with a key focus on providing legal services for low income immigrants across the community. Of special concern are current immigration issues in response to recent policy reforms and increasing needs. And, of course, the agency has always strived to serve the needs of Holocaust survivors and their families.

“It is with deep gratitude that I accept this gift on behalf of Jewish Social Services and recognize the importance of Useful Enemies,” says JSS Board President, Nan Youngerman.

New COBRA Election Notice Released

Madison, Wis. (June 24, 2013) – The Department of Labor has released a new COBRA election Model Notice template that mentions the Health Exchange as an alternative to COBRA coverage. And while we will revise our election notices to address this alternative, there is no requirement to notify current COBRA participants of the change.

We are ready! Our in-house attorney has drafted the notice that we will implement by the October 1 deadline. Doing so prior to that time is not necessary, as most states have not yet established their health exchanges.

The DOL’s primary intent behind the change is to inform potential COBRA participants of alternatives to COBRA coverage that may be available in the Health Exchange Marketplace.

Conversely, the recent update also removed information regarding the Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Rule and the Health Coverage Tax Credit, both of which are phased out and/or removed entirely by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Rule – Language Removed from Model Notice

  1. Pre-existing condition exclusions are prohibited for all enrollees for Plan Years beginning on and after January 1, 2014.
  2. A break in coverage may not limit the pre-existing condition exclusionary period.
  3. Individuals are no longer required to exhaust COBRA coverage in order to purchase individual health insurance policies without a pre-existing condition exclusion.

Health Coverage Tax Credit – Phase Out

The update also removed language relating to the tax credit available through the Trade Act of 2002 that expires at the end of 2013. Under this Act, a tax credit could be issued to certain individuals that became eligible for trade adjustment assistance and certain retirees receiving pension payments by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PGBC).

As always, TASC is committed to great customer service and solid compliance and administration of your COBRA accounts. For more information about the new template, contact Customer Care at 800-422-4661 or visit the Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/COBRA.html.

TASC service helps employers handle new burdens for Health Reimbursement Arrangement Plans

New PCORI fee will fund research and consumer-based health decisions!

Madison, Wis. (June 18, 2013) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration, has announced a new service to deal with funding the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Established by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the PCORI is charged with examining the "relative health outcomes, clinical effectiveness, and appropriateness" of different medical treatments. The Institute will evaluate existing studies and conduct its own, with funding in part by employer-paid fees.

Initial mandates include a new fee imposed on employers and insurance carriers for seven years, with fee amounts expected to change during that time. Due each July 31st, this fee is now set to affect Clients with Plan years ending 2012 through 2019 (this time frame may change, of course). While this July the amount due equals the average number of Plan Participants multiplied by $1, the PCORI fee multiplier will increase to $2 in 2014.

Of all the changes created by PPACA, it’s likely that few are more confusing than the rights and protections now offered to employees. This challenge is compounded by potentially significant penalties for failing to comply. TASC’s benefits experts make the job of complying with these ever-changing regulations quick and painless, by ensuring that our Client Plans meet all PPACA compliance requirements, by providing easy to understand service and instructions and toll-free customer service, and by offering more than 35 years of experience. As part of its ERISAEdge service, the TASC PCORI service will provide Clients with the fee calculation and instructions for completing the form and remitting payment.

TASC packages food for hungry children in our community and the world

Madison, Wis. (March 15, 2013) – On Friday, March 22, 2013, Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC), 2302 International Lane, Madison, will join forces with Food for Kidz at the Monona Terrace, Exhibition Hall A, to assemble meals for hungry children in our community and worldwide. About 370 TASC employees will participate in the event as part of their annual company meeting, and will be joined by five volunteers from Waunakee Feed the Need. From 3:45 to 5:00 p.m., the group plans to package 370 boxes of food which equates to 80,000 meals.

A service of the non-profit organization Feeding Children of Stewart, Food for Kidz is a volunteer-based packing program that provides specially designed, fully nutritious meals to hungry children and their families around the world. One box of food will feed a hungry child for seven months.

About 30 percent of the food packaged by TASC on Friday will be distributed to food pantries in Dane County through the Community Action Coalition (CAC) for South Central Wisconsin, Inc.; 30 percent will go to food pantries across the United States; and the remaining 40 percent will be distributed overseas.

TASC prides itself on being a giving organization and encourages philanthropy among its 700-plus employees across the nation. With a long history of philanthropy, TASC CEO Dan Rashke strongly believes in the value of contributing to the well-being of society, as is evidenced in the company’s support of local organizations and events in our community: United Way, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, UW-Madison Athletics, and Community Work Services. In addition, employees are given up to four days of paid volunteer time off per year.

TASC’s Claim ConneX Adds Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico

TASC’s innovative Claim ConneX feature has expanded its reach again by adding this carrier!

Madison, Wis. (January 24, 2013) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration, has established a claim feed connection with Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Every week more and more insurance carriers are getting on board with DirectPay’s great Claim ConneX option!

Claim ConneX simplifies the employee benefits claim process, making life easier for employers and their employees.  Using state-of-the-art technology, Claim ConneX allows employers to take advantage of instant carrier file transmissions. This process provides higher quality service with less chance for errors and communication breakdown.  With a DirectPay Plan, also known as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, employers control the cost of their employee benefits and encourage employees to spend wisely on their medical care. All employer contributions to the Plan are tax deductible to the employer and are tax-free to the employee. 

Some of the insurance carriers already connected to Claim ConneX include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Texas, Coventry-Group Health Plan, Guardian Life Insurance Company, Health Plus of Michigan, Iowa Health Systems, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Physicians Plus Insurance Corp, and United Health Care of River Valley.

TASC’s Claim ConneX Adds Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma

TASC’s innovative Claim ConneX feature has expanded its reach again by adding this carrier!

Madison, Wis. (December 28, 2012) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration, has established a claim feed connection with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Every week more and more insurance carriers are getting on board with DirectPay’s great Claim ConneX option!

Claim ConneX simplifies the employee benefits claim process, making life easier for employers and their employees. Using state-of-the-art technology, Claim ConneX allows employers to take advantage of instant carrier file transmissions. This process provides higher quality service with less chance for errors and communication breakdown. With a DirectPay Plan, also known as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, employers control the cost of their employee benefits and encourage employees to spend wisely on their medical care. All employer contributions to the Plan are tax deductible to the employer and are tax-free to the employee. 

Some of the insurance carriers already connected to Claim ConneX include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Texas, Coventry-Group Health Plan, Health Plus of Michigan, Iowa Health Systems, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Physicians Plus Insurance Corp, and United Health Care of River Valley.

TASC’s Claim ConneX Adds Guardian Life Insurance Company

TASC’s innovative Claim ConneX feature has expanded its reach again by adding this carrier!

Madison, Wis. (December 14, 2012) – TASC has established a claim feed connection with Guardian Life Insurance Company of New York, New York. Every week more and more insurance carriers are getting on board with DirectPay’s great Claim ConneX option!

Claim ConneX simplifies the employee benefits claim process, making life easier for employers and their employees.  Using state-of-the-art technology, Claim ConneX allows employers to take advantage of instant carrier file transmissions. This process provides higher quality service with less chance for errors and communication breakdown.  With a DirectPay Plan, also known as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, employers control the cost of their employee benefits and encourage employees to spend wisely on their medical care. All employer contributions to the Plan are tax deductible to the employer and are tax-free to the employee. 

Some of the insurance carriers already connected to Claim ConneX include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Texas, Coventry-Group Health Plan, Health Plus of Michigan, Iowa Health Systems, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Physicians Plus Insurance Corp, and United Health Care of River Valley.

Benesyst Partners with TASC

TASC and Benesyst have joined forces and combined will provide a broader range of services to any size employer anywhere in the country!

Madison, Wis. (November 27, 2012) – TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation), a provider of tax-advantaged medical and other benefit account management services, announces that Benesyst has become a Division of TASC with primary focus in large national accounts. With locations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and more than 80 employees, TASC immediately increases its capabilities and capacities including Benesyst’s technology team and data center.

By joining forces with TASC, Benesyst preserves its culture of performance and service excellence, while gaining scale-based advantages of a national organization with nearly 700 employees in 60 locations. As a Division of TASC, Benesyst’s distribution network will have access to a strong portfolio of services for small and mid-market employers. TASC will have new products to bring to its established customer base in all size markets, including BeneScholar™ Online Educational Expense Reimbursement program; BeneSmart® Online Enrollment and Eligibility platform; and Wellness Rewards Administration services.

Benesyst’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Contin cited TASC’s extensive use of technology and the broad range of services the two companies can offer. “This merger increases our ability to provide industry-leading services to the national accounts marketplace and enhances our ability to fund, execute, and deliver joint technologies that position employers for upcoming changes in the business and legislative environments,” says Contin. “Benesyst and TASC combined will provide a broader range of services to virtually any size employer.”

TASC’s Claim ConneX Adds Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas 

Madison, Wis. (November 19, 2012) – TASC has established a claim feed connection with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Richardson, Texas.  Every week more and more insurance carriers are getting on board with DirectPay’s great Claim ConneX option!

Claim ConneX simplifies the employee benefits claim process, making life easier for employers and their employees. Using state-of-the-art technology, Claim ConneX allows employers to take advantage of instant carrier file transmissions. This process provides higher quality service with less chance for errors and communication breakdown. With a DirectPay Plan, also known as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, employers control the cost of their employee benefits and encourage employees to spend wisely on their medical care. All employer contributions to the Plan are tax deductible to the employer and are tax-free to the employee. 

Some of the insurance carriers already connected to Claim ConneX include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Dayspring Dental Plan, and Coventry Insurance Corporation.

TASC Honored by the United Way

MADISON, Wis. (November 16, 2012) – TASC was honored by the United Way for its recent fundraising success. In 2012, TASC donated $151,833 to the United Way of Dane County, of which $130,833 came in pledges, and $21,000 was raised through a variety of fundraising events. TASC received a Best Practices Award for executing all of the Best Practices strategies and having an overall increase in giving, a Gold Award for averaging between $150-249 per employee, and a Red Feather Award for having the largest dollar increase in employee giving.

TASC continues to provide Section 125 Cafeteria Plan services to the United Way of Dane County agencies.  Through its FlexSystem division, TASC provides the Agencies with a $600 annual credit toward their FlexSystem administrative fees and waives the enrollment fee. (This makes the service free for groups with 15 or fewer eligible employees.) As part of TASC’s volunteering program, a TASC employee serves as the account executive for the participating United Way Agencies.

FlexSystem is based on Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code and allows employees to pay certain expenses (such as health insurance, medical expenses and daycare) with pre-tax dollars. The employees benefit from an increase in take home pay, thereby boosting the Agency’s ability to attract and retain quality employees. Meanwhile, the Agency saves payroll taxes for every dollar run through the Plan. 

TASC’s Founder Don Rashke Passes

Madison, Wis. (October 3, 2012) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration announces that its founder and former Chairman of the Board Don Rashke, age 80, passed away on Thursday, September 27, 2012, in Houston, Texas. Don was born February 3, 1932 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Guy and Angeline (Luksich) Rashke.

After stints in the Navy, as a printer for the Milwaukee Journal newspaper, and as a dairy farmer, Don joined Aetna as an insurance agent in 1975. After discovering a seldom used section of the tax code (allows sole proprietors to deduct all of their medical expenses), Don developed AgriPlan and BizPlan, two services that provided much need tax savings to hundreds of thousands of family farmers and small business owners nationwide. In just the last ten years, AgriPlan and BizPlan have saved these small business owners collectively over one billion dollars.

After moving to Madison, Wisconsin and changing the name of his company to Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC), Don divested the company of all insurance holdings. Concentrating solely on developing and marketing employee benefits accounts, TASC became the largest, privately held third-party administrator in the country. Don retired from TASC in 1996, but remained the company’s Chairman of the Board for another 16 years. After retirement, Don moved to Houston, Texas where he was active in local community theater.

Don is survived by his wife Patricia, six children, 18 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, numerous step children, step-grandchildren, one step great-grandchild.

TASC’s Claim ConneX Adds Coventry of Missouri

TASC’s innovative Claim ConneX feature has expanded its reach again by adding this carrier!

Madison, Wis. (Sept. 20, 2012) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration has established a claim feed connections with Coventry of Missouri of St. Louis, Missouri.  Every week more and more insurance carriers are getting on board with DirectPay’s great Claim ConneX option!

Claim ConneX simplifies the employee benefits claim process, making life easier for employers and their employees.  Using state-of-the-art technology, Claim ConneX allows employers to take advantage of instant carrier file transmissions. This process provides higher quality service with less chance for errors and communication breakdown.  With a DirectPay Plan, also known as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, employers control the cost of their employee benefits and encourage employees to spend wisely on their medical care. All employer contributions to the Plan are tax deductible to the employer and are tax-free to the employee. 

Some of the insurance carriers already connected to Claim ConneX include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Dayspring Dental Plan, and Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation.

Claim ConneX Adds New Carriers

TASC’s innovative Claim ConneX feature has expanded its reach again by adding these latest carriers!

Madison, Wis. (July 17, 2012) – TASC, a national leader in employee benefit plans administration, has established a claim feed connection with Health Plus of Michigan and Iowa Health Systems of Des Moines, Iowa.  Every week more and more insurance carriers are getting on board with DirectPay’s great Claim ConneX option!

Claim ConneX simplifies the employee benefits claim process, making life easier for employers and their employees.  Using state-of-the-art technology, Claim ConneX allows employers to take advantage of instant carrier file transmissions. This process provides higher quality service with less chance for errors and communication breakdown.  With a DirectPay Plan, also known as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, employers control the cost of their employee benefits and encourage employees to spend wisely on their medical care. All employer contributions to the Plan are tax deductible to the employer and are tax-free to the employee. 

The addition of  makes this convenient, secure and safe service available to more employers and employees.

Some of the insurance carriers already connected to Claim ConneX include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts,  Group Health Plan: Coventry Health Care Plan, and Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation.

TASC Receives a BIRT Excellence Award

Madison, Wis. (November 14, 2011) –TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) was honored recently by Actuate Corporation, a leading Business Intelligence (BI) vendor.  The accolade—for achieving outstanding business performance with the BIRT®-based business intelligence applications—was presented during an awards ceremony held November 9, 2011 in New York City. On behalf of TASC, Executive Vice President of Business Technology Services (BTS) Karl Richards accepted the award, titled “Actuate’s 2011 Excellence Award in the BIRT Implementation category.”

TASC provides a wide range of employee benefits solutions. This recognition praises the innovative way TASC seamlessly integrated BIRT’s robust iServer and BIRT Data Objects into MyTASC, enabling the company to deliver a one-of-a-kind online customer service tool—compete with service dashboards, production metrics, service request submission and tracking, and much more. Through its online portal, MyTASC, TASC serves over 600,000 customers throughout the United States.

“We are excited to receive the Actuate Excellence Award for our BIRT implementation,” said Richards. “TASC chose Actuate BIRT for its integration capabilities and ability to rapidly consolidate a wide variety of diverse data sources, and for its scalability to meet TASC’s web traffic demands now and in the future.”

TASC used the technology to build the ground-breaking MyService Center. This one-of-a-kind service tool presents highly detailed on-the-spot administrative information and unparalleled accountability to help TASC’s customers learn about features that make their jobs easier and increase their employees’ satisfaction. With MyService Center, customers can submit secure requests for assistance, receive direct and personal communication from TASC, calculate the amount of their tax savings, monitor their use of Plan resources, and more. This business intelligence tool gives TASC’s MyService Center advanced dashboard capabilities, presenting users with a comprehensive resource score card.

“We use BIRT to build a sophisticated service offering and completely integrated the program with our system,” states Richards. “Our customers receive open access to an unbelievable wealth of Plan resources and information to enhance their satisfaction, all within the comfort and familiarity of our website.”

TASC prides itself on delivering innovations designed to improve its services, to enhance its accountability, and increase its performance. One of the first third-party benefits administrators to provide a mobile app, TASC is poised to release the next phase of its mobile platform, which will allow users to submit and complete the request for reimbursement process, including the ability to submit photographs of receipts as substantiation.

TASC Partners with HFS Benefits

TASC and HFS Benefits have joined forces to provide quality benefits programs throughout Maryland and the nation.

Madison, Wis. (October 24, 2011) –TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation), a provider of tax-advantaged medical and other benefits account management services, announces the acquisition of Hirsch Financial Services (HFS) Benefits, a Maryland-based third-party administrator. By joining forces with HFS Benefits, TASC adds an office in Hunt Valley, Maryland, along with all of HFS Benefits’ employees and 2,000+ customers. HFS Benefits currently offers Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), Health Savings Account (HSA), Transit, and COBRA administration.

In partnering with TASC, President Jim Hirsch seeks to enhance HFS Benefits’ capabilities, by adding new benefits offerings such as FMLA administration, debit card with a cash account for medical reimbursements, mobile account management technology, and an online Reimbursement Wizard.

“By partnering with TASC, not only will we continue to deliver the optimal service our customers have come to expect, we will be able to do even more,” says Hirsch. “We are excited about the future and about being able to enhance our services.”

TASC Releases Latest Debit Card Innovation

The TASC Card now features an industry-first combination! This debit card offers a cash account in conjunction with the usual benefits account!

Madison, Wis. (October 16, 2011) – The next generation in healthcare payment systems has arrived. TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation), which provides employers from small to large with innovative, tax-advantaged employee benefits programs, has released the latest innovation in employee benefits account debit card technology. Used by over 2,300 Cardholders to date, the new TASC Card provides Participants with unparalleled access to funds, as well as greater flexibility and convenience when using those funds. More than 250,000 Plan Participants will begin to take advantage of this innovative new card over the next few weeks.

The revolutionary TASC Card actually manages two separate accounts. (1) As TASC pioneered several years ago, the TASC Card's MyBenefits account is connected to various employee benefits account(s), such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). Plan Participants use the benefits accounts to make purchases that are deemed eligible by their specific benefits account(s). (2) With MyCash, the TASC Card is now connected to a cash account as well. When using the funds in the MyCash account, purchases are not limited regarding their type.

The TASC Card is smart! It automatically determines the eligibility/ineligibility of each item being purchased, and knows whether to use MyBenefits, MyCash, or a combination of both. For eligible benefits account purchases, the MyBenefits funds are accessed first. For all other items—or if MyBenefits funds are insufficient to cover the eligible items—the TASC Card will automatically access MyCash to complete the purchase. As long as MyCash funds are adequate a TASC Card holder will never face embarrassing declines again.

Since 1975, TASC has used technology to enhance employee benefits account administration, and to make these benefits more accessible to employers and employees alike,” stated TASC Chief Executive Officer Daniel N. Rashke. “The new TASC Card is our latest innovation designed to ensure our customers receive the greatest benefit possible from their participation in these accounts.” 

Circuit Court Overrules IRS Attempt to Deny a Kansas Farmer's AgriPlan Deduction

Milo and Sharlyn Shellito operate a family farm in Kansas, where they raise cattle and grow wheat, corn and soybeans. Like every hardworking farm family, the Shellitos are always looking for ways to run their farm more cost-effectively, and to that aim they set up an AgriPlan in 2001. For ten years they’ve been enjoying the many benefits made possible by this medical reimbursement program which allows qualified farmers to deduct 100% of their federal, state and FICA taxes for family medical costs. Average plan savings are $4,000 a year!

AgriPlan includes comprehensive instructions that walk farmers through the steps needed to ensure compliance with employment and tax rules—issues that can be especially tricky when a self-employed individual hires a spouse. For the Shellitos this included establishing that as the farm’s owner and operator, Milo makes all decisions regarding farm operations and directs his wife’s work on the farm, and that Sharlyn is a farm employee who works about 40 hours a week.

To implement AgriPlan, the Shellitos created and signed an employment agreement for Sharlyn. She opened an individual checking account in her name, and used this account to pay family insurance premiums and medical bills not covered by insurance for the couple and their two children. Besides reimbursing her for these expenses, Milo paid her $100 per month in wages.

Following the rules of AgriPlan closely, Sharlyn kept a daily log of her hours spent on farm work, and the couple kept tax records that reflected this arrangement, deducting and reporting payroll taxes and issuing IRS W-2s. Each year the Shellitos provided TASC with a detailed year-end accounting of amounts claimed for medical expenses and insurance premium reimbursements. TASC in turn provided them with a report indicating the total allowable benefit amount, which they then reported as a business expense deduction.

Having followed AgriPlan to the letter, the Shellitos had few concerns when they learned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) planned an audit of their income taxes.

The IRS audit

The audit commenced in 2004 and looked at tax years 2001 and 2002. During this time, the family’s non-taxable medical expenses were $15,593 and $20,897 (for 2001, 2002, respectively) resulting in savings of $3,995 and $6,947 respectively. According to the Shellitos’ accountant, Geran Kuhlmann, the IRS agent on the case had disallowed the medical insurance premium deductions because they had been established in the name of the taxpayer instead of the employee. “That was an oversight on the part of their insurer,” said Kuhlmann. “The Shellitos had alerted the insurance company, and when they started getting billings in the spouse’s name, they assumed that ownership had been changed.”

Kuhlmann advised the Shellitos not to accept the IRS’s decision—a choice which resulted in unexpected consequences. “The agent not only disallowed the health insurance, she pretty much disallowed everything on the medical,” said Kuhlmann.

Fortunately, the Shellitos had a backup plan: the AgriPlan Audit Guarantee. “TASC appointed one of its lawyers to take over and all we had to do was supply him with proof that we’d complied with the plan,” said Sharlyn.

The IRS built their case on the assertion that Sharlyn was not a bona fide employee of her husband. As evidence, the IRS cited that before 2001 Sharlyn had worked on the farm without compensation for about 20 years, and that on their IRS Form 1040 for the years in question, Sharlyn’s occupation was listed as housewife. The fact that Sharlyn’s wages originated from the couple’s joint checking account was also a sticking point for the IRS.

TASC turns case around

After losing two Tax Court appeals, the case was sent to the Tenth Circuit Court. “Without TASC we would have never gotten this far,” says Sharlyn. “We would have had to hire an attorney on our own and that would have cost us a lot of money—probably more than we owed.”

A three-member judicial panel unanimously reversed the Tax Court’s decision. One major issue was the faulty reasoning used to determine whether Sharlyn was Milo’s employee. The Tenth Circuit didn’t dictate Sharlyn’s employment status, it simply required the Tax Court to examine the issue again, this time using the common law tests to determine if Sharlyn was—or was not—Milo’s employee.

The Court of Appeals also dismissed the argument that funds for medical reimbursement must be paid from a separate account—that such reimbursements cannot be paid out of a joint checking account—saying the argument that Sharlyn owned half of the funds in the joint checking account did not withstand scrutiny. Lastly, the Tenth Circuit Court emphasized that no minimum wage must be paid in these situations—and that there was nothing wrong with Sharlyn’s compensation combination of small cash wages and relatively large fringe benefits!

AgriPlan makes it easy to stay on the right side of tax laws

In handing down their ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court stated that the Shellitos had “crossed all of the t’s and dotted all of the i’s with respect to the employment relationship.” “It was 100 percent important,” said Kuhlmann. “If they hadn’t followed AgriPlan’s instructions so closely, I think they would have lost this case.”

“The Shellitos did so well in the Court of Appeals because of the instructions, advice and support from TASC,” added tax expert Vern Hoven. “And their entire legal defense didn’t cost them a dime!”

The Shellitos continued using AgriPlan throughout the audit and are using the program to this day. Their advice for other family farmers: “Join it!”

“It’s easy, it works, and you can count on TASC to stand with you if you run into problems,” said Sharlyn. “I can’t recommend it enough.”

Best in Business Award 2011

Madison, Wis. (October 10, 2011) – TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) is pleased to announce our newest achievement and recognition as Dane County’s Best in Business in 2011

An awards presentation was held at TASC headquarters on October 10, 2011 by the Best in Business Selection Committee.

Since 1987, the Best in Business Award has been presented to outstanding Dane County businesses to showcase their business achievements as well as their commitment to customers, employees, and the community.  

“We are proud to be recognized and honored for our business,” said Daniel Rashke, Chief Executive Officer of TASC. “We strive to provide the best quality and service to our customers, foster a creative and fun work environment for our employees, and be a productive and giving member of our community.”

“We believe in saluting the businesses of our community who have not only made a difference to our local economy, but also to their employees and customers,” said Kristi Shepard, Chair of the Best in Business Award Committee. “These are the heroes that get up every day and make the capital region a better place.”

The Best in Business Award is given to one company each quarter as selected by an independent panel of community business leaders. Specific award criteria are used, including the recipient’s standing among its competitors, growth, adaptation to changing markets, response to its customers' needs, the company's workplace environment, and its commitment to the community.

Lead award sponsors are In Business magazine, Total Awards & Promotions, Inc., and The Industry Connection.

For more information about TASC, please visit TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) or call 1-800-422-4661. For information about the Best in Business Awards, visit www.bestinbizmadison.com.

TASC Releases PayPath

TASC’s latest innovation is a comprehensive payroll and tax reporting service that will integrate seamlessly with the employer’s other benefits accounts!

Madison, Wis. (July 19, 2011) – TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) provides innovative, tax-advantaged employee benefits programs to businesses large and small, and has released a new service— PayPath. Designed specifically to manage payroll and tax reporting needs, PayPath handles the burden and liability of these important business functions for small to medium-sized employers.

At TASC, we pride ourselves on providing products and services that help our Clients succeed. PayPath, a secure, reliable, and truly flexible payroll solution, is further evidence of that commitment. This full-service payroll processing service includes all tax calculations and filings, along with a convenient online payroll portal that is easy to use and loaded with functionality. PayPath even offers a self-service module that can make payroll completely paperless, if the employer chooses. All of this robust functionality is backed by a team of experienced American Payroll Association (APA) certified staff professionals who pride themselves on customer service. TASC is also a proud member of the Independent Payroll Providers Association (IPPA).

"Every business needs payroll and few have the time or expertise to deal with this crucial responsibility,” stated TASC Chief Executive Officer Daniel N. Rashke. “PayPath takes this crucial obligation off of their hands and lets them focus on growing their businesses.”

TASC Wins Housing First Challenge

Madison, Wis. (July 18, 2011) – TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) has been awarded first place in the United Way of Dane County’s Housing First Challenge. Housing First is a United Way strategy that helps homeless families secure permanent housing. Housing First residents receive short term rental assistance as well as case management to improve job skills, parenting skills, and general organizational skills. 

The Housing First Challenge features teams who gather gently used donations to turn an apartment (two or three bedroom) into a home for a Housing First family. Judges placed a premium on creative ideas that help these families to be organized and was based on a scale of 1-10 (10 is best) for three elements: (1) cleanliness and completeness (condition, usefulness and completeness of items in apartment), (2) use of functional organizational tools, and (3) creativity of interior design.

Teams had just four hours to get all the elements into the apartment, so preparation and organization was key. Rumor has it that the complete Thanksgiving dinner (prepared by Linda Breunig) waiting in the kitchen put the TASC Team over the top! The TASC Team competed against three other local businesses (Summit Credit Union, Placon, and Globe University) to bring attention to the effectiveness of the United Way’s Housing First Initiative, to provide families a head start by providing a well-furnished home and to WIN bragging rights in Dane County! Thanks to all TASC employees who participated in the Housing First Challenge with donations or onsite assistance.

CEO Blog

Keep up with CEO Dan Rashke's thoughts and the latest TASC news and developments by reading his CEO Blog.

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