CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and Benefitfocus, the nation's largest healthcare and benefits technology provider, are extending their relationship by partnering together to build a personalized private insurance exchange for Blue KC's large group clients. Benefitfocus will provide Blue KC with a retail platform that supports defined contribution as well as a number of different health plan options, allowing employer groups and their employees to shop for benefits in a marketplace setting.
"Launching this private exchange is key in our goal to provide employers with a better way to manage employee benefits and adapt to the changing healthcare market," explains Danette Wilson, Blue KC Group Executive External Operations and Chief Marketing Executive. "Employers are looking for defined contribution support and consumer-centric solutions that are both cost-effective and user-friendly. After viewing the new BENEFITFOCUS® Marketplace technology for private exchanges at their One Place event in April, we knew immediately that it was the perfect fit for our strategy of delivering the level of convenience and accessibility to our customers as they shop for and enroll in benefits."
The retail platform's plan shopping workflow integrates seamlessly with Blue KC's existing online enrollment and billing solutions provided by Benefitfocus. Employers are able to enforce business rules, creating a pre-filtered, micro marketplace that allows employees to only see the plans for which they are eligible. As employees explore the selection of plan options, a personal shopping cart displays employer allocated funds and tracks the employee's out-of-pocket costs.
Blue KC's private exchange creates a true marketplace for employers to provide their employees with a wide variety of benefit options in one place including core Blue KC medical coverage as well as other benefits such as dental, vision and life insurance. The technology behind the marketplace enables data to be passed between the exchange and carrier, so members see real-time plan information and rates when shopping for benefits. As new products are introduced to the market, cloud-based technology will allow Blue KC to incorporate even more options to the exchange marketplace.
Accessible on any web-enabled device, the exchange features interactive, multimedia tools that educate consumers and make shopping for benefits more convenient than ever before. Decision support tools, questionnaires, informative videos and animation are available to guide shoppers through the process. Integrated claims information, along with the ability to personalize expected plan usage and estimate costs, create more cost transparency for shoppers, helping them make informed healthcare decisions.
"The emergence of private exchanges turns the world of benefits into an e-commerce market, transforming the way employers and individuals select plan options," said Shawn Jenkins, Benefitfocus President and CEO. "Benefitfocus has developed game-changing technology for carriers to support defined contribution as it quickly becomes the preferred funding method for benefits by employers. Several years of experience and collaboration have gone into the design of this revolutionary retail platform, and we are excited Blue KC has chosen to adopt our technology in their mission to offer the best consumer-friendly user experience for their customers."
Blue KC will introduce the private exchange to the large group market in early 2013.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. *Ranked by J.D. Power and Associates in 2012 as "Highest Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in the Heartland Region," Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to use our role as the area's leading health insurer to provide affordable access to health care and to improve the health and wellness of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City aims to be the local expert, value-driven and trusted leader in Kansas City. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at BlueKC.com.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City received the highest numerical score among commercial health plans in the Heartland region (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Member Health Plan StudySM. Study based on 32,868 total member responses, measuring nine plans in the Heartland Region (excludes Medicare and Medicaid). Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of members surveyed December 2011-January 2012. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.
Benefitfocus is the largest benefits technology provider in the U.S. More than 18 million members, 300,000 employers and 60,000 brokers use our cloud-based platform to shop, enroll, manage and exchange all their benefits in one place. From consumer engagement and education to enrollment, communication and billing, Benefitfocus is helping companies find a better way to manage their benefits. For more information, visit www.benefitfocus.com Benefitfocus – All Your Benefits. One Place.