CHARLESTON, S.C., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Benefitfocus, the country's largest benefits technology company, today unveiled the first complete private exchange offering for large employers, supporting benefits shopping, defined contribution, consumer direct pay and apps. HR InTouch Marketplace debuted this morning at One Place, the company's premiere event for HR, healthcare and technology experts.
With HR InTouch Marketplace, employers provide an online retail environment where employees can shop for their benefits and explore how to best spend their defined contribution dollars. Employees are presented with all types of benefits, wellness programs, company programs and perks in one cohesive, engaging workflow. Configurable design elements and widgets incorporate each company's brand, so employees associate their positive experience with their employer and fully understand their employer's contribution to their total compensation package.
"As a retailer, design and usability are incredibly importance to us – we want our employees to be engaged, even inspired, as they select their benefits," said Scott Scansen, Director of Total Rewards Management for The Wet Seal, who was a guest speaker at One Place. "Benefitfocus technology is unlike anything else we've seen in the market. It's flexible, elegant and easy to use and is really helping our employees appreciate the great benefits that we provide."
HR InTouch Marketplace supports multiple ways to engage employees and provides varying levels of support. For example, employees who need extra assistance can access avatars, animated videos and live chat as they explore their benefit options. Others can answer a series of simple questions to narrow down their choices and view recommendations based on what other like-minded employees have selected. Interactive cost estimators allow employees to model plan costs based on their own expected usage, and ratings and reviews add personalized, social content.
As employees shop, they can keep track of their selected plans by adding them to a shopping cart that keeps a running tally of their employer's defined contribution and their own out-of-pocket costs. If employees choose to purchase more coverage on their own, they can easily view and pay their bills in HR InTouch Marketplace. Employees indicate how they want to pay, and can elect to receive text message notifications when it's time to authorize payment.
"The dawn of retail in benefits is here," said Shawn Jenkins, Benefitfocus President and CEO. "We are ushering in a revolutionary new movement in healthcare and benefits. With the introduction of HR InTouch Marketplace, everyone is now a benefits consumer. We've designed a completely new experience for employees based on personalization, social tools, mobility and most importantly, choice."
Other major marketplace announcements unveiled today at One Place include:
- New mobile marketplace capabilities. New mobile capabilities give employees the best user experience, regardless of how they access HR InTouch and HR InTouch Marketplace. Responsive layouts ensure that a broad range of devices and browsers now have a single source of content, designed to be easy to read and navigate with minimum resizing, panning and scrolling. Videos are now optimized for smartphones as well, allowing consumers to learn about their benefits on the go.
- Private exchanges for insurance carriers. Health plans are using Benefitfocus technology for group and consumer exchanges. Employers shopping on the exchange can quickly narrow down plan options by answering a few simple questions like number of employees, average employee age, county and ZIP code, and can specify defined contribution amounts. Personalized, guided workflows provide a user-friendly shopping experience, even for small business owners who may be unfamiliar with shopping on an exchange.
- Retiree and Medicare shopping. By 2020, the Medicare population will reach 60 million – 20 percent of all insured Americans. Benefitfocus will support both changing marketing guidelines and technical requirements for selling Medicare Advantage and Part D products online, providing an intuitive plan shopping process for retirees. Critical tools such as physician lookups and prescription drug formularies are integrated in the retiree's workflow.
- Mayo Clinic products and services. Mayo Clinic, a worldwide leader in medical care, research and education will provide new health and wellness products and services through HR InTouch. The alliance between Benefitfocus and Mayo Clinic will provide HR InTouch customers access to Mayo Clinic Health Assessment, the EmbodyHealth portal, and over 3,000 Mayo Clinic articles and videos. Benefitfocus will also offer Mayo Clinic's award winning telephonic and online Ask Mayo Clinic nurse service, the EmbodyHealth Newsletter and Mayo Clinic books.
"For more than 100 years, millions of people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic," said Dr. Paul Limburg, Medical Director of Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions, who presented at One Place. "Our patients have told us they want more convenient access to Mayo Clinic care and expertise, and the relationship with Benefitfocus is exciting for Mayo Clinic because it helps us reach out in a new way and potentially help many more people who could benefit from what we have to offer."
Several other new apps were announced at One Place, adding to the list of benefits available in HR InTouch. The Discovery Benefits App, a software enabled service, takes the hassle out of billing processes for employers. The app provides consolidated billing, self-billing, bill reconciliation and payment services available through HR InTouch.
New apps also include identity protection from LifeLock and corporate wellness programs from Sonic Boom Wellness. The LifeLock App safeguards employees from fraud by proactively monitoring their information and providing alerts if identity theft is suspected. The Sonic Boom Wellness App gets employees excited about improving their health through social media tools, co-worker competitions and engaging content. All apps are integrated seamlessly with HR InTouch, making it easy and cost-effective for employers to offer more benefits and allowing employees to enroll in all of their benefits in one place.
The One Place Keynote Address was held at the Charleston Music Hall in front of a sold out crowd. In addition to The Wet Seal and Mayo Clinic, guest speakers included executives from Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, both Benefitfocus clients. For all of today's announcements and to see HR InTouch Marketplace in action, visit www.benefitfocus.com. Follow all of the latest Benefitfocus news on Twitter via #oneplace and @Benefitfocus.
Benefitfocus is the largest benefits technology provider in the U.S. More than 16 million consumers, 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.