It was a synergistic opportunity waiting to be seized, Steve Rosenthal said.
“In my opinion, there is no better way to achieve wellness than to work out,” Rosenthal said. “Healthy employees mean less claims; less claims mean lower premiums.
“So, for our clients at Triton HR, I wanted to be able to guide them to a gym.”
Rosenthal, founder and CEO of Triton HR, a group health benefits and human resources solutions brokerage firm in Woodbridge, co-founded OVOX Gym and Training Center in Morganville in 2015 to give insured members a place to work out at no charge — if they were to utilize the gym 14 times per month.
Then, when OVOX had a tough time obtaining affordable medical insurance and managing employee benefits, Rosenthal had another idea: a group employee benefits association.
“It is the idea that companies such as OVOX can now pool their employees with thousands of other employees to receive benefits,” he said.
Rosenthal and his team at Triton HR co-founded The Group USA in 2017 to help other small- to medium-size companies pay nearly 20 percent less than if they were to pay for such benefits and services on their own.
“We group everything under one program in a much more cost-effective and efficient way for our clients and carriers to manage,” Rosenthal said.
This isn’t Rosenthal’s first rodeo. In fact, Rosenthal has been a widely-recognized leader in the employee benefits and human resources industry for more than three decades.
After graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Bachelor of Science in management in 1986, Rosenthal began his career as an intern and district manager for Automatic Data Processing Inc. before founding his own successful human resources outsourcing company, EPIX, in 1990.
He sold the company after eight years but stayed on as chairman and co-CEO until he founded CheckPoint HR in 2001 and Triton HR in 2008.
Today, Triton HR manages more than $350 million in annual health and welfare spend by working with major carriers, including Aetna, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, UnitedHealthcare and Cigna.
Rosenthal also has maintained his strong working relationship with ADP.
“By accompanying ADP representatives on sales calls whenever applicable, we help them secure the payroll deal while we look to secure the benefits packages,” he said. “That relationship has helped fuel our growth.”
Triton HR employs nearly 95 across its locations in Woodbridge, Williamstown, New York City, Philadelphia and Dallas — a conservative workforce for the number of services the company offers.
Triton HR uses human resource information system technology to better track, manage and analyze its clients’ workforces; it manages employee health and financial benefits, include medical, dental, vision and life insurance, as well as retirement and savings accounts; it provides human resources outsourcing and professional employer organization services such as recruitment, background verification services, employee handbooks, workers’ compensation, risk and safety management, and even strategic planning; and, at the end of the day, it makes sure employees are paid, too.
Still, Rosenthal felt it wasn’t enough.
“Right now, the idea of grouping businesses together to purchase insurance is gaining traction in government, and it makes all the sense in the world,” he said. “Triton HR also needed a product it could actively go out and sell.
“With only five or six insurance carriers in New Jersey today, the demand is higher than the supply.”
In response, Rosenthal co-founded The Group USA in 2017.
“This is really good for an insurance company, because they can get the big groups they need to keep growing without needing to go to multiple brokers,” he said.
Staffed by five employees, The Group USA provides its members with all of the payroll and human resources services typically applicable, but also provides the benefit of belonging to a discounted nationwide medical program through the First Health Network owned by Aetna.
“Our members can pay as little as $25 for an office visit with a $1,000 deductible, or they can pay for a lower-cost plan with a higher deductible and a health savings account,” Rosenthal said.
At the cost of $20 per member per month, Rosenthal said OVOX was one of the first clients to enroll with The Group USA in January.
“For a company like OVOX, which now saves (nearly $22,000) annually for its full-time employees through the association, we’re able to provide them with health insurance, a 401(k) plan, life insurance, dental and vision insurance, payroll services, HR services and more — all of the things that become difficult for a small organization to do on their own,” Rosenthal said.
Timing could not have been better, he added.
“As one of the equity partners in OVOX, I wanted to continue to find ways to keep our staff members happy,” he said. “Many fitness center employees do not have health insurance or 401(k) plans, but, by offering this, I felt that we’d be able to better retain our employees.”
What is good for the gym also is good for the clients.
“There is no better motivation for an employee than to have both a reduction in premium and a free gym membership,” Rosenthal said. “It’s working.”
With one gym located in Morganville and the other in Hamilton, nearly half of the company’s combined 75 employees already are enrolled in The Group USA, providing Rosenthal and his team with a strong proof of concept for growth.
“We are able to look at how certain groups perform, and, from an underwriting perspective, are able to gather as much data as possible this way,” Rosenthal said. “We are now just starting to see what the impact of OVOX is, and early indications thus far are that clients with a high utilization rate are performing quite well — meaning, they actually can reduce their costs this way with this type of wellness engagement.”
That bodes well for any future expansion plans, Rosenthal said.
“It worked out well for OVOX to reduce its operating costs while providing the staff with Fortune 500-type benefits at an affordable price.”