High-tech and high-touch: a conversation with Thad Hamilton of TRI-AD

We know that about 80% of people use their smartphones for shopping, so why not use this same logic to shop for healthcare? The app is changing the way people will think about their healthcare needs.

Alegeus spoke with TRI-AD’s Thad Hamilton to learn more about the benefit administrator’s exceptional growth over the past two years and how technology has played a major role.

How has your partnership with Alegeus benefited your business? What value does Alegeus bring to the table?

The partnership we’ve built with the Alegeus team has helped us expand our health and welfare benefits administration business significantly over the past couple of years. The Alegeus team has been supportive and responsive to our business needs and helps us navigate obstacles when they arise.  Reimbursement account growth has been exceptional at 40% over the past 24 months! We believe the Smart Account app is a game-changer in the industry and provides us with a meaningful differentiator, beyond just price and service.

What is your favorite feature of the Smart Account app and why?

I really like the way the app presents obvious opportunities for participants to maximize the value of their tax-advantaged accounts. We have always had a philosophy at TRI-AD that helping people make good financial decisions today will influence their future happiness and success. Providing tools and technology that make the process more intuitive and less ‘scary’ helps to facilitate the process of making good decisions. As an example, the virtual medicine cabinet feature searches for lower-cost generic options and lower-cost pharmacies by geographic area, and gives access to the GoodbuyRx card, which inevitably leads to cost savings.

What was your first impression of the Smart Account experience?

It was remarkable to me that there is so much valuable functionality, yet the user experience is very intuitive and not overwhelming. We know that about 80% of people use their smartphones for shopping, so why not use this same logic to shop for healthcare? The app is changing the way people will think about their healthcare needs. Consumers have high expectations for mobile experiences and Alegeus has delivered a fantastic solution with real-time insights.

What feedback have you received from employers so far on Smart Account?

Our clients have consistently provided positive feedback and are impressed by how fast and easy the app makes managing benefits for their employees. They are seeing increased participation, higher satisfaction with benefits, and very little noise around administration.

What have been some of your greatest economic achievements since partnership with Alegeus? How have you increased business and revenue?

Prior to the Alegeus transition, TRI-AD was using a proprietary platform for reimbursement plan administration. While functional and meeting the needs of our clients, we found ourselves losing a lot of sales opportunities based solely on system demos. This was especially disappointing as TRI-AD has been well known for exceptional, high-touch service for more than 45 years and we knew many of these companies would ultimately end up disappointed with the service of the vendor they selected. Pairing our service with the cutting edge-technology of Alegeus has proven to be a winning combination based on our sales results and client satisfaction levels.

What distinguishes TRI-AD from other benefits administrators?

TRI-AD has been privately owned since 1974 and has enjoyed remarkable tenure. This stability and continuity have resulted in mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with many of our clients. The trust that our clients have placed in us has allowed us to expand our service offerings well beyond traditional reimbursement plan administration. Today, TRI-AD is a true one-stop health and wealth provider.

What is your sweet spot surrounding group size? What is the minimum size group you will work with?

TRI-AD generally focuses on employers with at least 1,000 benefit-eligible employees. We have been successful in verticals such as high-tech, professional services and healthcare, which aggressively compete for talent and seek vendor partners that will deliver a best-in-class service experience for their plan participants.

Who is an ideal client for your services?

While we believe any organization could benefit from working with TRI-AD, an ideal client is one that truly believes in their benefits program as a differentiator and seeks to build long-term relationships with vendor partners that can help them achieve this goal. TRI-AD clients value the responsive high-touch support and flexibility we deliver, along with the fast and simple experience for their employees. The result is better decisions, less risk and true partnership.

Thad D. Hamilton, AIF, CEBS, SPHR, is TRI-AD’s CEO and president. He holds primary responsibility over the firm’s strategy and direction. He has comprehensive experience consulting and administering employee benefit plans, including retirement plans, health and welfare plans, Section 125 and other reimbursement plans, COBRA, and benefit communications.

Thad joined TRI-AD in 1992 after earning his Bachelor of Science in Corporate Finance from California State University at Chico. He frequently speaks at conferences and workshops regarding employee benefit plans and has been published or quoted in HR Magazine, Compensation & Benefits Review, Parents Magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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