Software Makers Ready Avatars to Assist Exchange Shoppers
BY: ELLIOT M. KASS JUNE 17, 2013
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With millions of consumers about to begin trolling Web-based exchanges to shop for their health insurance, two software developers want to help them find the best deal.
Benefitfocus and CodeBaby announced last week an initiative to add virtual assistance to the healthcare exchange shopping experience. The plan calls for Benefitfocus to provide insurance carriers and employers with on-demand consumer support by incorporating CodeBaby’s Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) within its private exchange offerings.
“Today’s consumers, employers and insurance carriers are increasing their demands for innovative and diverse options to elevate healthcare consumerism,” said CodeBaby CEO, Dennis McGuire. “We are thrilled to work with Benefitfocus to assist in meeting these growing market requirements. We believe this partnership will further assist Benefitfocus clients by delivering relevant information in a way that makes understanding healthcare choices less confusing while improving the overall enrollment process.”
Intelligent Virtual Assistants, commonly referred to as avatars, offer self-service guidance and support in the health plan selection process to help consumers complete their exchange enrollment and select the insurance plan best suited to their needs. Benefitfocus’ Marketplace Technology integrates personalized shopping tools for informed decision making.
IVAs can be configured into the enrollment workflow within Benefitfocus’ Marketplace Solutions to explain plan features as well as cost versus benefit scenarios. IVAs also assist in ensuring that documentation is completed for applications and can be programmed to promote voluntary benefits enrollment or participation in wellness programs. Conversational scripts using Natural Language Response (NLR) technology are combined with menu-driven options to direct users through predetermined paths based on their profile and interaction within the marketplace.
“CodeBaby offers innovative technology that delivers an enhanced healthcare consumer experience, and together we provide the instant customer service that online shoppers have grown accustomed to,” said Benefitfocus President and CEO, Shawn Jenkins.”
CodeBaby’s IVA technology uses a combination of interactive web elements, decision support tools, and emotionally expressive 3D animations. The Edmonton, Alberta Canada software maker’s clients include Fortune 1000 companies as well as mid-sized businesses.
Benefitfocus provides cloud-based benefits software solutions for consumers, employers, insurance carriers and brokers. Based in Charleston, S.C., the company serves more than 20 million consumers with its integrated portfolio of products and services, which help clients to shop for, enroll in and manage their exchange benefits more efficiently.