New online insurance market launched

Cashing in on the click-and-buy craze, Benefitfocus has introduced a new technology -- Benefitfocus eDirect -- that makes it easier for health insurers to sell individual and family health insurance online.

"Recent analysts' reports highlight the growing need to reach individuals with health insurance," claims a press release by Benefitfocus. "This is driven in part by the growing uninsured population in the U.S. and a decrease in the level of employer-sponsored insurance, especially among smaller employers."

Insurers can use Benefitfocus eDirect to create a web-based store, where consumers compare plans, apply for insurance, get electronic quotes within 24 hours, and make payments via credit cards or checking accounts.

The technology also allows insurers to track the return-on-investment for specific marketing campaigns, maintain proper commission on sales through reporting and management tools, and sell additional products like life and dental insurance.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City have adopted the technology, and report favourable results.

"The individual market we have captured using Benefitfocus eDirect represents 18 percent of our total block of business. The norm for this market in the Blue plans is 8 percent," stated Roger Foreman, EVP of sales and chief marketing officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City in a press release. "Benefitfocus eDirect provides the product perspective and technology that makes it extremely efficient and effective in the marketplace to capture the individual sales with an outstanding return on investment."

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