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Young TPA and its president believe in building relationships

Gulfport — As the list of third party administrators grows, one young company and its young president tend to stand out.

Select Administrative Services was incorporated in 1997 as an HMO and made the transition to third-party administrator (TPA) in 2000. President Rea Montjoy, 34, has found his niché and believes his company has, too.

“There are a lot of TPAs, and it’s somewhat of a commodity business,” he said. “We are very sensitive to clients’ needs, and customer service is very important to us.”

Montjoy says Select Administrative Services is interested in relationships, always making the effort to be up front and honest with clients. “I’m a young man and intend to stay in business a long time,” he said. “I grew up here and know people.”

Charlotte Santa Cruz, owner of Santa Cruz Insurance Group of Bay St. Louis, says of Montjoy, “He is absolutely one of the best and few and far between in this industry. He goes the extra mile for his clients and cares for each one as if they are his only business.”

The company of 20 employees administers health and dental plans and flexible spending accounts for a wide range of clients along the Coast and in Oxford and Grenada. That client list includes Hancock Medical Center, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and several medical clinics. Its also does some back office work for a client in Indianapolis.

“Our clients are self-insured or partially self-insured companies. They’re taking the risks, but the employees don’t know the difference,” he said. “Most employers purchase stop-loss insurance. It may be $20,000 per person up to $250,000 per person.”

Memorial Hospital with approximately 2,000 of its employees on the health plan is the largest client. The smallest client has 55 employees. Montjoy says the plan has operated very well and the client saved 40% during the first year with a self-funded plan.

“There are good and bad years, but self insurance allows a company to manage some of the roller coaster ride and hopefully level it out,” he said. “We were able to sit down with the client and go over costs, making benefit changes that were not punitive to employees.”

Administering health plans for medical clients can be challenging. “They are high utilization clients,” he said. “They know the system and what they want.”

In-house services for clients include medical management, pre-certification, claims payment, issuing documents and pharmacy benefit management.

“We’re a one-stop shop and help clients manage costs of healthcare,” Montjoy said. “There are some costs you can’t control, but we help them find ways to control what we can. Companies are looking for an alternative to the high cost of healthcare and are doing anything they can to control costs while still providing benefits.”

With a tight labor market in the coastal area, Montjoy says health benefits are vitally important. They are often the deciding factor in accepting employment.

For employers, he feels the desire and need to control costs are the factors driving the rise of self-insured plans. Generally, self or partially self-insurance is most worthwhile for organizations with 100 or more employees but those with at least 50 employees are eligible. “Self insurance is becoming more popular, and this trend will continue to rise,” he said. “The whole country has healthcare problems, and there is no simple solution.”

However, Montjoy thinks TPAs will consolidate and probably not increase in number although the market for them will increase.

Obviously, HMOs were not the answer, although he thinks they served a purpose. “There really are none left in Mississippi, and it’s tough to say why,” he said. “They got some bad press and I’m not sure they were everything they were cracked up to be.”

Eyeing expansion

For Select Administrative Services, the future looks good with plans to continue to grow and expand its service area with an eye toward Texas or Florida. “We’re a full-service TPA and looking to expand our client base,” the president said. “We can administer plans almost anywhere, and it doesn’t affect how we operate. We don’t have to open an office in Texas or Florida.”

A graduate of Coast Episcopal High School and the University of Mississippi, Montjoy is a CPA. He has held accounting and financial positions with a bank and a medical clinic and began in that type of position with his present company.

“I really enjoy working in this field,” he said. “It can be frustrating, but is challenging and stays interesting. It’s always changing and I like that.”

He lives in Diamondhead with his wife, Sara, and children, Walker and Kate. When not working, he likes to play golf.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at mbj@msbusiness.com.


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