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Visibility added To Health-Plan Packages

System cuts benefits costs by automating processes and improving data capture
The builder of an online shopping mall for group health-plan brokers and consultants, BenefitPoint Inc., this week adds procurement and customer-relationship management to its services. The application, Aptus, lets insurance brokers compare proposed group health plans side by side and can help them gain more leverage in getting the best deals for their business clients.

"It takes minutes instead of hours to do the research," says Jann McCully, CIO of ABD Insurance and Financial Services, a broker serving 900 clients. The service eliminates the need for ABD employees to pull together each insurer's health-plan information from spreadsheets, Word documents, E-mails, and file folders. "I never thought our 150 health-insurance benefit professionals would operate in a paperless environment," she says.

ABD and 310 other health-insurance brokers and consultants are signed to use the Aptus platform for designing health-care plans to show to clients. All plan information for 420 insurance carriers is stored in an Aptus database. When an employer seeks a change to an existing plan, the insurer can immediately see the request. Likewise, when an insurer has a new benefit, employers and brokers can review it online. Brokers and consultants can solicit bids from insurers on the site.

The service drives costs out by automating manual processes and improving data capture and reporting, BenefitPoint says. Pricing wasn't announced; brokers pay a subscription fee on a per-seat basis and carriers pay royalties on sales.