In 1964, a group of entrepreneurial Alberta dentists, recognizing a growing need for group health insurance benefits, created the Alberta Dental Service Corporation (ADSC).
The ADSC set out to offer companies, large and small, an innovative and cost-effective way to provide employee benefits.
For the next 25 years, the company flourished and became innovators in the development of dental benefits packages.
In 1989 the ADSC evolved even further by responding to a need for additional improvements to dental and health insurance options. Lyle R. Best was hired as CEO to lead and expand the company’s scope.
Under Lyle Best’s direction, the company introduced Quikcard dental plans. The options the company now offered were dramatically different from other health insurance plans – because the self-directed, self-funded features made them more flexible and cost-effective.
Today, Quikcard offers companies the innovative benefits solutions that employees want, at a price employers can afford.
Health Spending Accounts, teamed with complementary group insurance plans, provide comprehensive coverage and tremendous value.
Get in touch with a Quikcard representative today and find out how our benefits can benefit you!
“I saw there was this unfulfilled need and it drove me nuts. I couldn’t convince the people at head office to let me sell it.”—Lyle Best
The company he worked for had a new owner, and Lyle Best was weighing his options. His new bosses would probably transfer him back to Central Canada or the U.S., which wasn’t his first choice.
“I had fallen in love with Alberta,” he says.
Although it might mean leaving his Alberta home, Lyle decided to make a pitch. He had an idea, and it meant a lot to him. If his new bosses would listen, he would stay on with the company.
The idea was to create a new line of products to serve small businesses. Lyle was a well-trained and experienced insurance executive, who saw a weakness in the group benefit plans that served big companies and large organizations. Small businesses were locked out.
“I had worked for a multinational insurance company for a dozen years,” says Lyle. “We didn’t offer small businesses the products we offered large companies. Small businesses couldn’t afford the insurance, or the insurance company wouldn’t sell them a plan.”
Lyle knew how to fix the system.
“I pitched them my idea, and they basically laughed me out of the room.” Decision made.
Lyle’s idea was to create self-funded plans. With big companies and organizations, costs average out and are predictable. For a small business, group plans get risky. But what if business owners could use their own funds? Give every employee coverage and set manageable limits.
“The big insurance companies told their insurance agents and brokers to pay no attention to me,” he says about his failed pitch to his new bosses. “I would be gone soon.”
Lyle had a hobby: computer programming. On his 1980’s home computer, he began building customer service software that could track benefits. He found a developer who knew a programming language called PL1.
“He was blind,” says Lyle. “We had to get him a monitor that was very advanced for the times. It was big and could display one binary code number at a time. He was amazing.”
Together, they built the Quikcard dental claims management system. That was 30 years ago.
Many dentists had trouble collecting from non-insured patients, and Quikcard’s software allowed dentists to check a patient’s coverage. Although it’s standard practice today, Quikcard was the first administrator in Canada to offer this service.
“My pitch to the dentist was simple—if you accept my card in your office, you’ll know exactly what you’re going to get paid, and you can collect the co-pay that day.”
But there was a glitch. Lyle had spent all his time, effort and money developing software only to discover that (30 years ago) most dentists did not have computers. So, Lyle switched up his process. They had no computers, but they all had telephones and could call Quikcard for authorization. Quikcard had the powerful software and could process the claims over the phone.
In 1999 as Y2K was looming, the Government of Nova Scotia reached out to Quikcard. It wanted to license the small Edmonton company’s excellent dental coverage software. “It gave me an instant footprint in Atlantic Canada,” says Lyle. “For 16 years, we managed the Government of Nova Scotia’s children’s dental plan.”
By 2000, Quikcard was full service, with every health care discipline, from optometry to massage therapy. Quikcard’s homemade benefits software made the provider nimble. It could customize changes in a few days, while other insurers with large IT departments and huge mainframe systems needed six to nine months.
Quikcard is still innovating. It has just released a new website that gives you control over your own benefits. Sign in, submit your own claims, check your balance and eligibility.
When Quikcard was born, small businesses and their employees had little access to group benefits. Quikcard changed that game. Lyle also changed the game for charities, non-profits and teams.
In 2008, he received the Order of Canada. In 2010, he became a member. The honour recognized Lyle’s commitment to a long list of community organizations, including Junior Achievement, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (which he helped found), the Edmonton Oilers Alumni (which he directs) and Quikcard Minor Hockey Week, which according to Guinness World Records is the largest hockey tournament in the world.
Lyle describes Edmonton as having a Big Community Spirit, and that supports his philosophy, which he sums up this way: “If you live in a community you need to invest in that community. Because if you invest, it makes the community healthier, and that will give you a healthier business. It all comes back.”