Ed and Kathleen MacConnell’s daughter Katelin was born on June 5, 1988. Ed’s father had already started his insurance agency, Ashwood Associates a few years earlier. It wasn’t until many years later that Ed and Kathleen joined the agency which eventually became Total Benefit Solutions, Inc.
Katelin was born with a fatal liver disease, Biliary Atresia. After many attempts were made to avoid it, and many days and sleepless nights in the hospital, the doctors determined that the only recourse they had to save her life was a liver transplant.
At the time Ed’s job provided health insurance benefits but they had to wait until the open enrollment
period to enroll the new baby. Health insurance rules were much different then, and even more misunderstood by the family. Ed’s insurance company denied the claims and advised that they would not cover the procedure.
So the family, friends and neighbors took to fundraising to try to cover the exorbitant cost. Needless to say the fundraising would fall way, way short. Clips below show some of the newspaper stories from the fundraising effort!
Ed and Kathleen made it their mission to find out as much as they could about health insurance rules and regulations including state and federal government programs, grants, foundations and loans. After all, there were no advocates they could hire at the time. Accepting no was not the answer! They spent hours reading books, writing letters, knocking on doors, visiting government officials and making phone calls. Of course they could not just look things up on Google it was 1988!
They became health insurance experts by accident, simply by advocating for their child. With time running short over the winter holidays, things took a turn for the worse and it began to look bleak. But finally on January 5th 1989, while sitting in ICU on life support at St Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Katelin received the liver transplant she desperately needed to survive.
It was the beginning of a long second chance journey for the family that continues to this day.
Later that year Ed left the company he had been working for and in 1990 they started their own business. They decided that they would always offer their employees comprehensive health benefits. During this time they received many calls from people, mostly parents, desperatly in need of some guidance and assistance because they were in similar situations and had no where else to turn. Even when while subletting office space from his father’s firm, questions about insurance and benefits would come up from the firm’s clients and they’d often wind up on the phone with Ed. After few years, they left the cleaning business because the call of the needs of health insurance consumers and small business owners kept coming back again and again.
So in 1995, Ed joined his father at the firm and became a licensed insurance producer. He decided to be a broker so he could impartially represent and advocate for his clients best interests, even if it was not in the best interests of the insurance company! Kathleen joined in 2002 to complete the family business.
Even now the family business strives to always represent their clients and advocates for their best interests in all areas including rates, claims, service, denials and appeals. Stop in and you may even find Katelin, her older brother Robert and younger brother Eddie working at the office from time to time.
Working with Total Benefit Solutions means our team of dedicated professionals and our family always works for you!