Health care reform could boost demand for Plan Advisor Software

The national health care reform proposals call for mandating health insurance for all Americans, which would provide a boost to Waukesha-based Connecture Inc.

The company offers its Plan Advisor software, which designed to make it easier for people to purchase health insurance independently. The company expects that market to increase with the approval of health care reform in Washington, D.C..

“There is going to be tremendous growth in the independent market,” said Michael Schenk, vice president and chief technology officer for Connecture. “No matter how it turns out, health care reform is most likely going to force millions of additional people to purchase health insurance on their own. Plan Advisor and our other tools can help them do that in a fun and interesting way.”
Connecture sells Plan Advisor, a product of its Consumer Edge package, to insurance carriers across the nation.
However, the company’s ultimate focus is making the process easier for the end user, or the independent consumer,
Plan Advisor uses the latest in web technology to walk the consumer through an easy-to- understand purchasing process for the health plan that best suits them.
“We have a series of algorithms set up that can determine the best plans for the consumer depending on questions they answer related to their background and lifestyle,” Schenk said.
In general, the user is led through a series of questions that determine which plan is best for them, Schenk said.
After they answer the first question, three plans, along with their price quotes, will pop up and will continue to adjust in relation to the question and answers that follow.
In the end, a person is still left with choices, Schenk said.
“The key difference is that the plan advisor tool allows the consumer to see prices quoted out right away,” Schenk said. “Some other tools don’t give you that information so early in the process.”
Plan Advisor offers the walk-through method as an option only. If a consumer knows what they want or need, they can skip ahead and just select the plan they are looking for.
“Plan Advisor can even be customized to target a certain demographic,” Schenk said. “The tool can be formatted in a question-answer format or can be more of a conversational piece directed toward a specific demographic.”
With Plan Advisor carriers can directly target a demographic like the young and uninsured.
According to Megan Riddle, marketing specialist, Plan Advisor and the other Consumer Edge components are not just for large national insurance carriers. Connecture works with insurance companies of varying sizes across the nation to determine which components of the Consumer Edge package are the best fit. Eleven of the 20 largest insurance carriers are Connecture clients, she said.
According to Schenck, the Plan Advisor system can be completely imbedded in an insurance carrier’s website or it can be hosted by Connecture. The product can also be completely branded for the purchasing company.
“It isn’t one size fits all by any means,” Schenk said. “We know it’s a competitive market, so we put a lot of focus on working with the company to develop a unique brand for the interface. We want them to be able to differentiate themselves.”
The Plan Advisor platform can be tweaked on a per carrier basis and can come in the form of a questionnaire or a conversational walk through depending on what works best for the company.
The tool is available through Connecture’s Consumer Edge package, which can also include design and development of micro-sites and landing pages, broker mobile quoting, branding capabilities and analytical tools. The cost varies depending on what the carriers want, she said.
“As the market changes due to reform, consumers are going to have more responsibility in purchasing their own insurance,” Schenk said. “The internet is going to be a key marketing tool to sell directly to consumers. Plan Advisor can simply extend an insurance carrier’s reach to those consumers.”

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