TAC Heath and Employee Benefits Pool (TAC HEBP) is a self-funded pool that offers group health, prescription, life, vision and dental benefits to active and retired county employees, officials and their dependents. It is a major part of who TAC is and what it does — providing superior benefits to members. But behind the high-quality benefits are real people working every day to make sure those benefits are properly billed and reported on and managing renewals. Without Team BEAR (billing, eligibility, ARTS and reporting), under the supervision of Eligibility and Billing Manager Lisa Linenberger, the Pool would not thrive.
One of the shining faces on Team BEAR is Employee Benefits Billing and Reporting Specialist Stacey Jones, who was nominated by Director of Health and Benefits Services Quincy Quinlan for this issue’s Employee Spotlight. Jones’ day-to-day work life is one filled with facts — data gathering, reporting and analytics. “I get all the reports ready for renewals. That’s two reports per group, which is 200 groups. And three reports for the dental groups,” said Jones. That’s a lot of reports.
Jones started with TAC in December 2008 after taking a few years off from work after her son was born. Prior to that hiatus, she worked in Human Resources with another company.
While working deep in numbers can seem like a solitary endeavor, Jones credits her team with keeping her from feeling alone. “The part of my job I appreciate the most is the team. Eligibility Specialist Jerome Hill is right next to me and is my second set of eyes,” she said. “We’re really good about backing each other up and making sure everything is correct. We help each other a lot. Without your team, you’re not going to be successful.”
The ability to focus and pay attention to the details are critical attributes to possess in order to do the job, but so is caring about doing it right. “Stacey is my friend and co-worker. She is a professional introvert who loves what she does (reports and numbers). It’s all about facts,” Hill said.
The past 10 years have seen a lot of change at TAC. Growth and innovation have been constant. For TAC HEBP in particular, that growth has included adding more staff, such as the outward-facing Wellness and Employee Benefits consultants who travel around the state visiting with members. While they are crucial to keeping members informed and healthy, the people behind the scenes, on the third floor of the TAC building, are equally vital to the health of the Pool. And it’s a role Jones does not take lightly. “I think I enjoy the claims and reporting the most. You get a big picture of what’s going on with the Pool and what we can do better to make our groups healthier. And it’s a challenge,” she said.
Soon Jones will face the busiest time of year — renewal time. Every July and August Team BEAR, lead by Linenberger, tests every single plan that will roll out the following October - January. Some groups have more than one plan, so the team is testing about 230 plans. Despite the increase in work, Jones and her team find a spark of joy to keep each other going. “Each year she tells me she is taking off during the months of July and August. She says ‘I’m on sabbatical. No testing for me.’ And as usual, I laugh with a smile,” said Hill. “And then we dig in and get the job done.”
When she isn’t mining data or running reports, Jones is facing a new challenge at home. She and her husband will be sending their only child off to Colby College in Maine this fall. After many years as a devoted “swim mom,” she will watch from afar as her son dives into a new adventure. And while it will be a tough transition, she knows he will do great and flourish. And that’s a fact!!