Not all burgers are created equal. When it’s a hamburger that you crave, you can go with a mass-produced chain burger or opt for a burger specialist. The burger specialist finds a variety of ways to satisfy more than just your hunger, with a range of burgers and toppings. Want a veggie burger with a southwestern spin? It’s all yours. Perhaps a half pound burger with bacon and an egg? No problem. Yes, both burgers will handle your craving, but a burger specialist leaves you more satisfied, time and again.
Administrative Service Only (ASOs) and Third-Party Administrators (TPAs) function in a similar fashion. At their core, they provide administrative services to employers with self-funded benefits plans, helping them adjudicate, process, track and pay claims. They’ll work with employees to educate them, manage enrollment and help them navigate the plan. They’ll also help employers stay updated on legislative changes and ensure their reporting and recordkeeping are within compliance standards. Both might offer additional services like COBRA, FMLA administration, cost containment and more. The major differences between TPAs and ASOs lie in their structure and how they provide their services.
ASOs are often affiliated with, or owned by, the major insurance carriers, and the experience rarely differs from the traditional carrier experience. TPAs, however, are generally independent businesses established as a high service alternative to the major insurance carriers.