Our History with Healthcare

Ed and Kathleen MacConnell’s daughter Katelin was born in June, 1988. Ed’s father had already started his insurance agency, katie-held-by-dada year 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

Father Dextre from St Michaels Parish came to Christen Katie in the hospital while she was waiting for a liver.
Father Dexter from St Michael’s Parish came to christen Katie in the hospital while she was waiting for a liver.

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!

They 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, 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!  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.

Katie and her dad at St Chris waiting for that liver!
Katie and her dad at St Chris waiting for that liver!

It was the beginning of a long second chance journey for the family that continues to this day.

They became health insurance experts by accident, simply by advocating for their child. 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, desperately in need of 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.

Katie with her mom Kathleen and Kathy Faulkenstein from St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

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 firm strives to always represent their clients and advocates for their best interests in all areas including rates, claims, service, denials and appeals.  Working with Total Benefit Solutions means our team of dedicated professionals and our family always works for you!


The History of Our Firm:

Total Benefit Solutions Inc started out life as Ashwood Associates Inc  in 1982 as a financial planning and consulting firm dedicated to providing only the finest financial advice to small business owners. As the years progressed, it became more and more apparent that there was a growing need for a firm that specialized in benefits for small organizations and individuals. By 1987 the firm was split into two organizations, Ashwood Associates spun off to handle the property and casualty clients, and Edward A MacConnell continued as the newly adopted. EMA Group Inc.

Coupled with his own personal experience fighting a healthcare giant, Ed  joined the firm in 1995 with one mission in mind: To bring the services most commonly saved for large employers to small business owners who needed them more and fill this rapidly growing need.

With the dawning of the affordable care act (Obamacare) in 2010 we again restructured our business model to better serve our clients!

We pride ourselves in providing quality service to every client. We have achieved a solid record of growth by doing what it takes: working closely with our clients to develop real benefit solutions, not merely provide raw data.

As each year rolls around, we feel that we have accomplished much but that we still have plenty of work to do. With Total Benefit Solutions Inc as your broker, you can always be certain that we will strive for the highest level of customer service and seek out advancements that our clients can benefit from for years to come. And with all the changes in healthcare these days, you need to know when things change that affect you!

You aren’t just working with a broker-you have engaged the services of a team of professionals, dedicated to helping you. When you hire us we represent you our client, and NOT your insurance company.

What you get is an experienced employee benefits firm and a dedicated support staff to handle your needs. With us your benefit plans are not an afterthought, it’s our primary focus. We aim to preserve our excellent standing in the business community by emphasizing a “client first” commitment to our clients at all times. We continually challenge ourselves to look for better solutions to our clients’ needs. We listen to our clients and address their concerns as the most important factor in developing appropriate employee benefit programs

We know good employees are an organization’s most valuable asset and work with you to preserve this relationship. We also focus on continuing our professional education and offer the up to date knowledge our clients deserve. Since your needs vary yearly, we aggressively develop a benefits plan for existing clients the same way we would for prospective clients. Then we work with you ALL YEAR to keep your plan running smoothly. As your outsourced HR professional, we will deal directly with your employees, addressing their concerns and resolving complex issues promptly and professionally. We do all of this without charging our clients any fees directly.

Talk to us today about a custom designed solution for your organization. You might not even have to switch insurers! It’s easy! Just pick up your phone and call us today at (215)355-2121 and speak to a member of our dedicated service team.