HighRoads Launches Intelligent Web App for Searching Employee Benefit Plan Information for Health Care Reform Regulations
11.09.2010
New Health Plan Search Technology Puts Power in Hands of Employee

BOSTON (November 9, 2010) - HighRoads, the industry leader in employer health care compliance, today announced it is launching an online application by which employees can access changes in their benefits plans, receive customized summaries of their health and welfare coverage, and search for plan features.

Communicating faster, more accurate information about employees' health plan coverage is a hot button affecting all employers as federal health care reform begins to take effect. To simplify and ease the complex communication of new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) plan changes, employers demand a faster, easier electronic method of communicating current benefit information to their employees.

Employee communication requirements are becoming more rigid through the PPACA. For example, beginning in 2012, plan design changes must be communicated to employees 60 days in advance of the plan change. Further, employers soon will be required to provide a Uniform Explanation of Coverage for each plan in a "culturally and linguistically appropriate manner" so that the summary is understandable to their employees. These documents will need to be updated and available to employees alongside the Summary Plan Descriptions currently required by law. The new HighRoads intelligent web application will provide the vehicle to electronically disseminate the additional PPACA communication documents to employees as soon as they are available.

HighRoads is the only technology provider with a proven solution that ensures compliance with Department of Labor [DOL] and Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations and demonstrates a significant return on investment to create and manage employers' Summary Plan Descriptions [SPDs]. SPDs are legally required documents that provide employees a summary of benefit coverage along with the employees' and employers' rights and responsibilities under the benefit plans. Employers have had to rely on traditional electronic and hard-copy distribution systems and processes to present SPD documents, which can significantly delay information to the employee.

HighRoads has enhanced its existing industry-leading SPD technology by creating an integrated Web app by which employees can access plan updates and check on coverage features - in a process specifically customized for each individual. Through the HighRoads app, an intelligent search can be made on enrolled and eligible plan SPDs. For example, if a child suffers a broken arm on a school playing field, mom at work can immediately access her employer's benefits management portal to determine what treatments, like x-rays and physical therapy are covered and the amount of her co-pays.

"The changes demanded by the Health Care Reform Act and other legislation such as mental health parity and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) require employers of all sizes to make changes to their plans and to communicate these changes to plan participants in a timely manner," said Kim Buckey, practice lead, ERISA Communications, HighRoads. "Open enrollment materials and other short-term communication vehicles can meet the immediate need, but it's critical that employees and their families have an up-to-date, comprehensive guide on how to use their benefits."

Due to the expected frequency of changes required, employers seek faster, more cost-effective ways to update and communicate critical employee benefit and legislative changes. The new HighRoads intelligent web application addresses this need by:

• Communicating accurate and timely SPDs in compliance with health care reform regulations
• Serving as a searchable electronic fulfillment solution for employee benefits information.
• Delivering critical back-end tracking and reporting of document delivery to fulfill Department of Labor and Health & Human Services communication requirements.
• Enabling easy access for an employee to see his or her benefits package summary and review each benefit's SPD.
• Providing quick keyword searches of SPDs with results customized for each individual.
• Allowing administrators to send alerts and notifications to employees.

The HighRoads intelligent web application is a component of the HighRoads HR Compliance SPD technology solution. For more information on HR Compliance visit www.hcreformcompliance.com

Demonstrations and screen shots are available to the press. Please contact Petra Marino at pmarino@highroads.com

HighRoads ERISA Communications Consulting
HighRoads ERISA Communications consulting helps FORTUNE 500 employers manage the full Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) lifecycle, from discovery through distribution. Following the discovery process, HighRoads reviews existing materials for readability and compliance and can help develop new content, revise existing content or apply technology to automate the SPD update and revision process. By combining its strategic approach to SPDs, its expertise in communications and its experience in the HR and benefits industry with our technology-enabled consulting, HighRoads provides a cost-effective and timely solution for SPD development and management.

About HighRoads
The world's leading employers choose HighRoads to gain complete control over their health care costs and compliance. With HighRoads' service, employers have online access to benefits plan information and pricing, competitive benefits benchmarks, and complete benefits supply chain management. The privately-held company is headquartered in Woburn, MA. For more information, visit www.HighRoads.com

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HighRoads Company Contact:
Petra Marino
(781) 503-4031
pmarino@highroads.com


HighRoads Media Contact:
Erin Jones
(704) 664-2170
erinj@Spiralgroup.com