Your questions answered by Foundation Strategies' experts
Our knowledgeable staff answers your questions to help you understand how Foundation Strategies meets the benefits solutions needs of small to large companies, government agencies, and service organizations alike.
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Q. How many years has Foundation Strategies been in the employee benefits consulting business?
A. Founded as Associated Benefit Services in 1996, and incorporated in 2001 as Foundation Strategies Inc, we have been in operation more than 14 years. Our expert consultants average more than 20 years of experience in the employee benefits consulting industry.
Q. Does Foundation Strategies have a sound record on its financial practices?
A. Yes. Foundation Strategies Inc is financially sound and has the financial and staffing resources to successfully execute the terms of our client agreements.
Q. How does Foundation Strategies assure quality?
A. Our account management process incorporates three levels of review to assure quality. Account representatives collect client information, which is then carefully reviewed by the account manager. A financial account executive or primary client consultant conducts a third review.
Q. How does Foundation Strategies maintain corporate data confidentiality?
A. All Foundation Strategies Inc employees are required to be trained in HIPAA security procedures annually. We have signed Business Associate Agreements (BAA) with all our clients and as part of our appointment with insurance carriers. Our data is secured electronically and physically and we do not request personal health information (PHI) unless it is absolutely necessary for our evaluation. Any information we share with clients has PHI removed. Any information sent via the Internet is digitally secure and HIPAA compliant.
Q. What policies and procedures does Foundation Strategies follow to securely transmit and store sensitive data?
A. Foundation Strategies Inc maintains essential network security to protect corporate and client information assets. Our wide area network (WAN) is properly protected by a standard, up-to-date firewall. Inbound ports are closed. Remote access by employees is secured with encryption. Physical redundancy is maintained for all client data. Physical server security is controlled by building-access codes, hard keys, and physical locks in which limit access to the server location. We maintain patches and updates for all workstations and servers. We routinely back-up all client data to disk and perform annual archives. You can obtain more information about our security policies by contacting our network administrator.
Q. Do you work with companies of all sizes?
A. Yes. We customize benefits solutions for different-sized companies and organizations, as well as government agencies and service organizations.
Q. What is your client to consultant ratio?
A. Many companies assign 50-100 accounts per consultant. Because we strive to provide attentive, personalized service, we'll never assign more than 10 accounts to one rep.
Q. How does Foundation Strategies benefit my company?
A. That depends a lot on your unique needs. At Foundation Strategies, designing highly tailored benefits program is all we do. We keep up with the latest advances in the industry and the most cost-effective approaches for companies of all sizes. We meet with you and help you define your complete benefits strategy. Then we set priorities and get to work quickly to implement a benefits program that's optimally suited to your company and labor landscape.
Q. Does Foundation Strategies maintain any strategic partnerships?
A. Yes. We have preferred partnerships with companies who can provide key services outside our primary area of expertise. For example, Encompass Medical Management provides data-warehouse functions, while Compass Total Benefits Management provides benefit administration services. We work closely with two actuarial consulting firms, two ERISA law firms, a compensation and wealth management company, and commercial property and casualty firm.
Q. Does Foundation Strategies have exclusive contracts with any employee benefits vendors?
A. No. We do not have exclusive relationships with any carrier. We continuously assess the capabilities of all carriers in the marketplace to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and market niche.
Q. What's the difference between an urgent and non-urgent client service request?
A. When our clients request help, we respond. We conduct monthly meetings to proactively address financials, strategic developments, and outstanding issues. We can host more-frequent meetings as needed to monitor specific vendor issues—allowing all parties to respond appropriately before issues become urgent.
Q. How does Foundation Strategies work with clients to develop an annual service plan?
A. We take a proactive approach toward plan management. We start discussing short-term and long-term strategies early in the first quarter of each year. An early start provides time to perform critical analysis, avoid last-minute decisions, and to communicate and implement the plan effectively. Please contact us and let us develop a plan specifically for you.
Q. How many employees are enrolled, on average, in Foundation Strategies' typical client's benefits program?
A. Our client companies range in size from 2 person groups to a 50,000 person groups. Our average client company has 1,500 employees.
Q. Does Foundation Strategies have any recent mergers and acquisition experience?
A. A recent merger and acquisition case started in the fall of 2007 involving a complex and comprehensive benefit program redesign for the merger of five (5) clinical research companies located in five (5) separate areas around the United States and Canada. The merged benefits program was implemented for a January 1, 2009 effective date.
Our services included:
- Review of current programs and costs,
- Developed short and long-term program objective,
- Reviewed cost and administrative constraints,
- Developed benefits strategy and delivery options,
- Detailed analysis of program options and pricing approached,
- Illustrated and documented potential impact on employees and employers,
- Assessed resource capabilities and needs,
- Conducted vendor competitive bidding,
- Drafted and presented executive presentation on proposed changes,
- Finalized plan design, pricing, and vendor selections,
- Developed transition and implementation plans,
- Developed internal budget and funding methods,
- Developed communications and enrollment strategies,
- Participated and assisted in entire implementation process,
- Drafted and reviewed communication and enrollment materials,
- Trained HR staff on program details and administrative processes,
- Attended Open Enrollment sessions at all locations,
- Coordinated and resolved enrollment issues with carriers,
- Reconciled billing and enrollment data,
- Reviewed reporting requirements with vendors and set up of monthly financial budget reconciliation reports, and
- Assisting with any and all other client needs.
We have performed M&A activities for Cetero Research, Sasol North America, and Retriever Payment Systems. Additionally, Chic Coonrod, Ricki Willoughby, and Francine Phan have significant experience in M&A while working at a national carrier and global consulting firm.
Q. Does Foundation Strategies work with clients who operate or have employees outside of the United States?
A. Many of our clients have employees who work outside of the United State, so we have developed benefits programs for expatriates, inpatriates, third-country nationals, and local nationals. Two Foundation Strategies consultants are certified in Global Benefits Management.