ACS, a Xerox unit that provides IT technology services, has expanded the number of Medicare plans it offers in its My Medicare Advocate Web portal to include plans from insurers Humana and WellPoint.
My Medicare Advocate combines simple online decision tools with a call-center service to allow both retirees and employers to navigate health plans. The site offers enrollment guides and analysis tools to educate retirees on health plan choices.
The Web service allows the elderly to choose Medicare health plans using an easy-to-use interface, according to Dan Cahill, ACS' national market leader for My Medicare Advocate.
"From a retiree perspective, it can be confusing, but we try to make it fairly simple," Cahill told eWEEK. "They're answering simple questions, but what's being done behind the scenes is highly complex, not unlike most technology."
With online educational and plan decision tools, My Medicare Advocate helps retirees transition from employers' plans to Medicare plans.
Under agreements with Humana and WellPoint announced May 17, the companies will serve as anchor affiliates for the ACS Medicare benefits Web tool, Cahill said. Together, Humana and WellPoint will add 20 additional carriers to My Medicare Advocate's network.
"From our perspective, you're combining the really outstanding products that Humana and WellPoint bring to the marketplace with all the coverage areas and associated pieces, and you're combining that with the strength of the technology platform that we've put together," Cahill said.
With the added networks from Humana and WellPoint, retirees using the ACS platform will have access to additional group employer benefits.
The portal's online modeling tool asks retirees basic questions about age, location, drug regimen, prescription drug needs, their budget and whether they're a smoker. It identifies whether the person is in good health. "We will then take algorithms that have been developed via large databases of information and start to rank order plans that could be the best fit for these individuals," Cahill said.
In addition to choosing their health plans, retirees can pay bills from their carrier using the service.
Retirees who choose not to use the Web portal can contact the My Medicare Advocate call center and work with onshore employees with sensitivity training on working with seniors, he said.
ACS is also giving the Web platform a boost by using Destination Rx's comparison and enrollment tools, which CMS (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) uses to operate its Medicare.gov portal.
Meanwhile, ACS has a data-sharing agreement with CMS regarding Medicare plans, Cahill said. My Medicare Advocate incorporates built-in coordination with CMS on retiree eligibility and data accuracy.
One challenge in incorporating data from multiple carriers' databases is keeping the data clean and accurate, according to Cahill. "Portals being portals, the hard part is you're cleaning the data of some of these other folks' interfaces," he explained. Records for referrals and specific drugs must be repopulated in the data fields.
In addition, My Medicare Advocate will incorporate bConnected call-center technology from Connextions, a provider of health insurance distribution platforms. bConnected offers phone, text, email and chat communication.
In March, ACS also announced it had purchased CredenceHealth to incorporate that company's SAAS (software as a service) applications, which provide doctors with cloud-based data on lab or radiology results, medications and vital signs.