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GSI Telecom Audit

I have been working with Erny Bonistall and Janis Parkhill at Global Solutions to audit all of our telecommunications expenses to see where we might be able to save our company money. This included evaluating expenses for land lines, domestic and international calling services, cell phones, faxes, data lines (internet, DSL) and web site hosting. In the beginning, I had to do some minimal leg work of gathering up two to three months of bills from the related service providers (something that can easily be delegated) and filled out some paperwork authorizing them to contact these providers regarding our accounts.


They were absolutely super to work with and made everything as easy and clear as possible. They walked a perfect line of following up just enough to get me to send in what I needed to without being demanding or pushy--even though I procrastinated and dropped the ball a couple of times in getting the information to them. Once the ball got rolling and things were in their hands, they stayed very focused, provided me with appropriate information and feedback from our providers, recommended changes where appropriate and let me know if they thought we were getting a good deal where we were. Never did I feel they had an agenda or wanted to push me to do something we weren't inclined to do. They simply provided information and alternatives and provided opinions when asked. They were totally responsive and professional and very easy to work with. And I guess I should mention that they did what we set out to do and were able to make some simple recommendations that will save our company money on an on going basis throughout the year and probably the years to come. Best of all, our costs are contingent on our savings. We had no risk whatsoever. They simply take a percentage of the money they will save us, so we were under no obligation and no risk when we entered our contract with them. For any company worried about money they might be wasting on these types of expenses, I think it's a no brainer.



Dawn Cloyd + Washington
Current News
HOTELENGINE Savings
September 11, 2017
Member Savings Program partners with Hotel Engine, a private hotel booking platform, to connect associations and their members to deeply discounted hotel rates. + read full story

HP Partnership
September 07, 2017
HP Inc. has teamed up with Member Savings Program to offer you the benefit of purchasing high-quality HP Inc. products at discounted prices. HP.com offers a broad line of consumer and commercial products, from notebooks and desktops to printers, accessories and more! + read full story

PENSKE Truck Rental
June 15, 2017
The MSP has added PENSKE Truck Rental as the latest money saving vendor. + read full story

RingCentral added as Cloud Telcom Solution
June 01, 2017
RingCentral added as Cloud Telcom Solution. + read full story

Strategic Alliance Announced
May 28, 2012
Member Savings Program and Industry Huddle partner to assist small and mid sized businesses. + read full story

New Association Partner
January 20, 2012
The Buying Group and the North Carolina Plumbing and Mechanical Association have signed an agreement to have TBG provide it's turnkey association affinity program to the NCPMA and NCPMA members. + read full story

New Savings Programs
October 13, 2011
The Buying Groups' Member Savings Program has added 8 new suppliers to its' ever growing list of member savings opportunities. + read full story

Hearing Health Plan Announced
May 12, 2011
EPIC HEARING HEALTHCARE AND THE BUYING GROUP PARTNER ON MEMBER SAVINGS PROGRAM - Program Helps Members save money on their hearing care + read full story

Grainger Industrial Supplies Launched
January 24, 2011
Members save an average of 28% on Graingers' maintenance, operational and repair products. + read full story

ADP Increasing Discount for members
January 01, 2011
25% off -current and new customers + a credit of up to $400. + read full story

Buying Group of Buying Groups - New Buying Group Alliance Announced
December 22, 2010
New Group Purchasing Organization Alliance means increased savings for members. + read full story

Gasoline Savings Now Available through the Member Savings Program
December 28, 2009
MEMBER SAVINGS PROGRAM PARTNERS WITH MOREGALLONS
TO PROVIDE A SOLUTION TO FIGHT RISING FUEL PRICES
+ read full story

Going Green and Making Money
October 14, 2009
Money for your used Consumer Electronics + read full story

Canadian Credit Card Processor
January 28, 2009
Collective Point Of Sale Solutions added as preferred Canadian Credit Crad Processing Partner. + read full story

Health Insurance now Offered by MSP
November 29, 2008
MSP now offers comprehensive Health coverage. + read full story

New Employee Benefit Announced
September 07, 2008
Comprehensive Wellness Program announced.

+ read full story

SBTV.COM
May 01, 2008
The Buying Group announces newest Partner. + read full story

TBG expands in Canada
January 10, 2008
Payworks announced as first Canadian based supplier. + read full story

WebEx joins the growing list of Savings Suppliers
December 06, 2007
WebEx savings and productivity now available + read full story

NCO added as newest supplier
June 22, 2007
TBG has chosen NCO Financial Systems, Inc. (NCO) as its endorsed collection agency. + read full story

Affinity Solution Announced
June 01, 2007
Outsourced Solution now available + read full story

CEA Newest Association Partner
December 16, 2006
CEA AND THE BUYING GROUP PARTNER ON MEMBER SAVINGS PROGRAM
+ read full story

Gevity added as new supplier
December 10, 2006
Gevity HR Solutions added as newest TBG Supplier + read full story

Webcast Interview
October 28, 2006
Interviewwith the Founder of The Buying Group. + read full story

Lifelock - New TBG Supplier
October 21, 2006
Lifelock, the Identity Protection Services Company, is now being offered to Buying Group Members and Member employees. + read full story

Newspaper Article
October 02, 2006
Buying Group Featured in Sarasota Newspaper
+ read full story

Account Managers Added
September 28, 2006
The Buying Group adds 4 Customer Care Consultants. + read full story

Consumer Site Launch
July 04, 2006
July 4, 2006: TSG Buying Group Inc. has launched the USA Buying Group Consumer site at www.usabuyinggroup.com
+ read full story

NEWS



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Small Business Health Insurance: Are you over or under insured?
12/27/2009

When it comes to purchasing health insurance for your small business, you might be wasting money without even realizing it. Sometimes it comes down to analyzing your situation over two extremes: are you over-insured or under-insured? Either one can lead to waste in healthcare spending, which impacts your company and the industry at large-- thereby raising everyone's costs.

Naturally, you'll need to balance cost savings with employee satisfaction. "If someone wants to pay extra for a plan with a low deductible and all the extras, that is the right choice for them," says David Crump, a sales representative with Ross Gray Insurance, based in Austin. "The most economical choice for an employer is having a benefits package with the flexibility to offer a range of choices. The biggest money waster is having a benefit package that nobody likes and have increased employee turnover."

Also, according to management consultant Jack Tillman, not using an insurance agent is another money-waster-- not only because good agents can help you save money by understanding all the options and regulations, but agent fees are built into small group premiums anyway. "In most states, you can't back that 3 to 4 percent out, so you might as well find a quality agent and use them as the advisor in making these purchases," he says.

Whether or not healthcare reform passes Congress, small businesses are likely to face higher premiums and few major changes for next year. So read more tips below on how you can avoid making painful mistakes, from health insurance experts across the country.

1. Over-insuring: just say no.

The days of high-premium, Cadillac plans are waning. Who can afford that? Instead, look at the myriad of ways that you can save money by limiting the cash you commit to your carrier upfront. "Many businesses are simply over-insured and could cut their costs by offering high-deductible insurance plans that would qualify employees to open health savings accounts (HSAs)," says Alex Forrest, principal with AC Forrest Insurance Group in Greenville, South Carolina. HSAs allows employees to contribute pre-tax dollars in a personal account to be used toward medical costs, and can be rolled over from year to year. “The employer could even contribute a defined amount to each employee's health savings account (annually or monthly) to help mitigate any concerns about the lack of a co-pay or drug card," he adds.

Not only can high-deductible plans save everyone money on premiums, employees are allowed to take the money in their HSA account with them if they leave the company, and may also use the money for non-medical expenses-- although with a penalty, says Ariel Serber, a sales executive with J. Peat and Associates, an insurance benefits and administrative services based in New York. Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA's) are another option for saving on premiums, by allowing employers to purchase an even higher deductible plan. The HRA is an account that a company can fund to reimburse employee medical costs. (Additional bonus: contributions to both the HSA and HRA are tax-deductible).

Finally, suggests Tillman, who is the managing director for Junction Consulting in Louisville, Kentucky, avoid purchasing "dread disease" policies that fall outside the core health insurance product. "Unless the core product has specific "inside limits" for things such as cancer, this is a complete waste of money," he says.

2. Under-insuring: we all pay for that

Avoiding coverage is not something that only the impoverished do, because of an inability to pay or the lack of an employer who can provide benefits. "I know people in the 20 to 35 range that don't buy it because they think they're healthy but when something happens, we all pay for it," observes Kevin Prather, a financial planner with Skylight Financial Group / Dorman Farrell, LLC, based in Cleveland, Ohio. In his view, individuals and companies need to be proactive and purchase the adequate amount of insurance to cover basic needs, and also consider wellness programs and other incentives for employees to stay healthy.


3. Prescription drugs: don't abuse coverage

Prescription drugs account for up to 30% of healthcare expenses, according to some experts. Unless you are a homeopathic fanatic, it's unlikely you're going to forgo prescription drugs altogether. But you, and your employees alike, suffer from the price of rising drug costs. "One thing we see is the overuse of the prescription drug coverage," says Robert Gilbert, owner of HSL Insurance in Atlanta. "This severely affects rates on renewal when many employees use it." Use prescription coverage sparingly: if you can buy generic, pay out of pocket instead of through your insurance, he suggests. Prather also recommends using an HSA plan to pay for prescriptions, which is generally less expensive than having insurance-paid prescription cards.

4. Investigate self-insured plans.

"Even the smallest of companies can self-insure some of their plans and save money,” says Mark Cesarano, a health and welfare consultant with The Savitz Organization, an employee benefits consulting firm in Philadelphia. Self-insured plans entail paying an administrative fee to a third party administrator (TPA) and paying claims to the TPA as they come in, he explains. “Groups can add a layer of protection to protect them from excessive claims. We have had small groups self-insure their prescription drug plans several years ago. The savings were so strong that their average cost is still lower than the fully-insured costs after 3-4 years."


5. Keep your eye out for competing deals and credits


The healthcare landscape is ever-changing so stay abreast of what competing plans could offer and how regulations might be changing to your advantage. For instance, says Tillman, one of the biggest money-wasters is not exploring health insurance products offered by local chambers of commerce or industry and trade groups. “Discounts average 2-4 percent off street rates and almost always considerably offset the cost of membership in the sponsoring entity.” Another mistake, according to Tillman, is to not ask your health carrier to provide administrative fee credits against the cost of the health policy, if you are also purchasing ancillary products such as life and dental insurance at the same time.

At the end of the day the goal is to reduce the money that you pay to insurance companies as premiums, and increase tax-deductions and pre-tax dollars to use for healthcare.

Source: American Express - Author - Polly Schneider Traylor

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