Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) December 2, 2004
ConnectedCare announces the first complete carrier-independent consumer directed healthcare (CDH) portal and administrative platform as it brings its initial customers into production. The centerpiece of ConnectedCareÂs solution is the comprehensive administrative integration of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).
State-of-the-art healthcare decision-support and comparison tools, coupled with healthcare information guides, are wrapped around Internet-based account administration to provide customers with a hosted ASP solution and call center support, which can be implemented within 30 days for most employers. The portal reflects the growing preference for HSAs among small and mid-size employers, and the rising perception of CDH as a competitive advantage in hiring. Initial customers include Baltimore-based Agora Publishing Group (Agora) and Oklahoma-based Mays Housecall Home Healthcare Services (Mays).
ÂConnectedCare has the sharpest set of Internet tools of the companies we evaluated,Â explains Matt Turner, Chief Legal Counsel of Agora, Âand we liked that Agora can implement the ConnectedCare platform and portal this year while assessing and possibly changing our health plan over time, all without disrupting the interface to our employees. For Agora, this was a no-brainer; it will pay for itself in the first year based on lower premiums from our health insurer for adopting a high-deductible plan, and over time, weÂll have better educated and therefore, healthier employees too.Â
ÂWe see the offering of HSAs as a competitive advantage in hiring,Â Turner adds. ÂConsumer-minded employees are reading about HSAs and demanding them. We believe it is becoming recognized as a preferred benefit and a sign of a forward-thinking, employee-focused company.Â
Recognizing the potential power of HSAs, Mays introduced the savings accounts to their 600-employee workforce in July 2004. ÂOur workforce is precious to us and we felt like we could offer an intelligent, innovative health plan that would be attractive to our employees without breaking the bank,Â said Lola Young, Mays founder and CEO. ÂAdditionally, ConnectedCareÂs carrier-agnostic approach allowed us to stay with our current broker, retain our self-insured plan and most importantly, not affect our existing network discounts, while utilizing the best set of CDH employee-facing tools available.Â
ÂThe problem was providing communication and support to our employees for handling this new plan,Â she adds, Âwhile also not creating additional work for our thinly stretched back-office employees. Fortunately, we found a true partner in ConnectedCare, who was able to manage all of the back-end administration while providing the communication and education assistance necessary for a successful launch.Â
ConnectedCareÂs solution provides:
- Intuitive Benefits Enrollment capability via the Internet
- In-depth employee communications program
- Healthcare debit (payment) cards for employees to access their funds
- Advocacy services to assist employees with difficult health issues
- An Innovative paperless claims-submission process
- 24 x 7 Internet access to employee account balances and claims payment status
- An online drugstore that is integrated with the ConnectedCare payment card, enabling the direct purchase of many over-the-counter items at tax-advantaged prices
Terry Hunter, ConnectedCareÂs CEO explains: ÂConnectedCareÂs service offerings were designed with the recognition that companies like Mays and Agora would want to install HSAs but didnÂt have the time or expertise internally to deal with the increased administrative and regulatory tasks, which are significant when considering the many plan design choices available to employers. Our model acknowledges brokers will need help with the intricacies of plan design, deployment and administration, and carriers often donÂt have the optimal solution for every employer. We work with both groups and their employer clients, creating the best solution for the marketplace.Â
And how have MaysÂ employees reacted? ÂThey were very curious during the enrollment process and asked many questions,Â noted Ms. Young. ÂFortunately, our ConnectedCare account manager provided thorough training, including answers to Âfrequently asked questionsÂ, and was available to answer those few questions that fell outside of the training. Employees are excited about their increased control over healthcare spending and their ability to save unspent funds for the future.Â
HSAs were introduced as part of the Medicare Act of 2003 and were initially made available effective January 1, 2004. HSAs are a tax-free savings vehicle that encourages employees to control their healthcare spending and benefit from a healthy lifestyle, while accumulating tax-free savings. The HSA must be combined with a high-deductible health insurance plan and enables both the company and employees to contribute to the savings account. Similar to 401(k) funds, the funds are contributed tax-free, can be spent on healthcare tax-free, and unspent funds grow tax-free until retirement.
Since HSA contributions can originate from either the employer or employee, employers must be able to deduct funds from payroll and deposit these funds into an employeeÂs account. In addition, employees can take the funds from employer to employer, potentially building a sizable healthcare retirement fund. Funds not used by age 65 can be claimed for personal use. If not used for healthcare, the funds are treated like income and taxed accordingly.
ConnectedCare was conceived, engineered and built specifically to be the leading carrier-independent administrative portal for managing Health Savings Accounts, the foundation for consumer-directed healthcare plans. ConnectedCare provides employers with an outsourced benefits administration platform to control healthcare benefits costs while increasing employee awareness and responsibility for managing healthcare spending. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, ConnectedCare helps organizations reduce their healthcare costs through consumerism and education. ConnectedCare provides the advice and tools necessary to transition an organizationÂs existing health insurance plans to a Consumer-Directed Healthcare Plan (CDHP) model. For more information, visit http://www.ConnectedCare.com or call 877-495-3341.
About Mays Housecall Home Health Services
Mays Housecall Home Health Services is a leader in the delivery of home healthcare services for patients and caregivers. In addition to home healthcare, Mays provides outsourced healthcare professionals in the Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas area. For more information, call Lola Young, (580) 298-3947.
About Agora Publishing
Agora, Inc., an international publisher of financial, health, travel and special interest books and newsletters, seeks to serve as a modern marketplace for news and breakthrough ideas. Agora publishes more than 300 books and 40 newsletters, reaching 1 million readers from around the world. For more information, call Matt Turner (410) 783-8410.
This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.
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