Plan Sponsors

Competitive Difference and Billing Structure for Plan Sponsors and TPAs

QBF’s competitive difference lies not only in the level of experience that our attorneys and professionals provide, but also in our commitment to excellent and personalized service.

When working with plan sponsors and third party administrators, QBF has developed a proprietary and streamlined system (QDROTracTM ) for logging and monitoring each DRO submitted for review. This system tracks a DRO’s submission history and any relevant administrative hold periods and produces notifications to plan sponsors when action is required on their part. QBF manages the entire QDRO submission process, allowing plan sponsors to rely confidently upon our expertise.

Most importantly, our experience and efficiency allows QBF to offer a legal review of DROs for a flat fee which is less than what many of our competitors charge for a simple administrative level of review. A legal review offers clients not only an increased level of expertise and knowledge, but also the confidence of being able to rely upon a legal opinion for each DRO reviewed.

There are several different components to consider when looking at QBF’s billing structure.

1. QDRO Procedures and Model QDROS

When working with Plan sponsors, the first crucial item of evaluation is whether the Plan maintains a written set of QDRO Procedures and a model QDRO.

The Internal Revenue Code requires a Plan sponsor to maintain reasonable procedures to determine the status of QDROs. These QDRO Procedures become the Plan’s cornerstone for the legal review of QDROs and QDRO management. They set forth the requirements by which each DRO will be determined to be a QDRO and provide guidelines for managing the process through qualification.

In addition to having a complete and understandable set of QDRO Procedures, having a model QDRO not only increases efficiency (in terms of the number of submissions required before an order can be determined to be a QDRO), but also reduces the opportunities for error when administering a QDRO.

QBF works with plan sponsors and third-party administrators, using a flat rate, to provide a personalized set of written QDRO Procedures and model QDROs.

2. Flat fee review of QDROs

QBF offers a variety of review and administrative options for DROs, each with a different fee, ranging from a flat fee review only for each DRO submitted, to a combined flat fee review for each DRO submitted together with managing and tracking administrative holds. The actual flat fee review fee charged for each DRO will depend upon the complexity of the Plan and whether the Plan offers a model QDRO.

The flat fee charged is a per review fee, not a per matter fee. This fee structure sets QBF apart from many of its competitors and is historically more advantageous to Plan sponsors from a cost savings perspective (particularly when a Plan offers a model QDRO which is easy to understand and utilize).

QBF’s flat per review fee is typically about 1/4 to 1/3 of many of our competitors’ per matter fee structure. QBF’s resolution rate (meaning the average number of submissions needed to approve a QDRO) has been calculated (using a period of 20 years for comparison and plans which offer model QDROs) at approximately 2.2 – 2.6 submissions in order to obtain and approve a QDRO. This means that the average number of per review fees spent on a matter is less than the average per matter fee charged by most of our competitors.

QBF’s lower resolution rate may be attributed to several items:

  • When needed, QBF prepares QDRO Procedures and model QDROs which are easy to use and understand.
  • QBF provides a complete legal review of the documents submitted.
  • QBF’s response letters explain any deficiencies within the DRO clearly and succinctly, allowing the parties to make any necessary revisions with ease.
  • QBF attorneys and administrative staff are always available by phone to answer questions and field any concerns.

3. Administration and QDRO Management

QBF utilizes its proprietary tracking system (QDROTracTM) for logging the receipt of DROs and monitoring each DRO’s status through its final approval.

This system tracks a DRO’s submission history and any relevant administrative hold periods and produces notifications to plan sponsors when action is required on their part. At any given time, a plan sponsor, third party administrator or individual party may call QBF and inquire about the current status of the QDRO review process.

Using QDROTracTM, QBF manages the entire QDRO submission and approval process, allowing plan sponsors to rely confidently upon our expertise to navigate a matter to completion.

4. The Process

You can click the flowchart below to view a larger PDF version.