New data tool could help reduce health care benefit costs

A third-party administrator based in Germantown has launched a new Web-based technology that will give mid-sized, self-insured companies, brokers and consultants a competitive edge and more predictable health care costs.

Conservent has created Conserver, a Web-based modeling tool that analyzes data from group claims experience, helping companies determine future health care costs based on their own previous claims data.

Conserver is available through Virtual Benefits Administrator, a Web-based online reporting and enrollment program.

Conserver offers health plan tools, a health plan evaluator, benchmarking, modeling analysis, price transparency and a health, wellness and risk evaluator.

Having access to this type of data enables companies to save 3 to 5 five percent on health care costs out of the gate by providing data that helps employers plan more effectively and efficiently, according to Thomas Witter, president and chief executive officer of Conservent.

Employees can use Conserver at enrollment time to compare dollars to dollars the different plan options an employer offers. Employers can use the program regularly to evaluate their plan, how it is utilized and how cost-effective it is, Witter said.

“Now employers can look at the history of the company claims and calculate what would happen if the deductible was increased from $500 to $1,000, including whom it would impact and what it would do to the total cost of the plan,” said Bob Brower, vice president of sales for Conservent.

Employers can also review claims to determine the percentage of employees who are experiencing medical issues related to smoking or poor eating and exercise habits. In response, the employer can implement wellness and prevention programs designed around the lifestyles and habits of the employees.

Milwaukee-based Health Payment Systems Inc. (HPS) plans to offer Conserver in a package with its other discounts to offer companies between an 11 and 15 percent discount on health care costs, Witter said.

“Health Payment Systems is offering a package that saves between 5 and 7 percent with HPS’ partnership with network discounts, plus three percent on stop-loss carrier savings and an additional three percent on Conserver,” Witter said. “That would mean a cost savings between 11 and 15 percent, which equates to an estimated $750 per employee.”

Conservent did not disclose the costs of Conserver, but said it is geared toward companies with about 100 employees.

“Conserver will level the playing field for the small to mid-sized agency because it allows the agency to compete in the self-insured market,” Witter said. “Larger brokers have software like this already, but on a larger scale.”

Conserver can integrate all claims information and is a seamless integration into the Virtual Benefits Administrator. The data collection system is HIPAA-compliant, Brower said.

“Agents and brokers gravitate to Conserver because it enhances the position of the broker-to-client relationship, because now brokers have a tool to support their services,” said Andrew Serio, president of Health Care Systems Consultants Inc. in Wauwatosa.

Serio has tested Conserver but will not be using it until January, when most of his clients go through the enrollment process.

Mark McCabe, vice president of Sheboygan-based Burkart-Heisdorf Insurance Agency Inc., also plans to use Conserver during the renewal process.

“Generally we would use (Conserver) to see how a firm is comparing to some benchmarks in the industry to help guide the firm on changes we would consider in their health insurance,” McCabe said.

Conserver will also help McCabe discuss changes in the cost of insurance to his clients with 100 employees and growing. Adding 10 employees would equal a 10-percent increase in employee base for a mid-sized company and could be a risk to an affordable health care plan for the company, he said.

“With the rising cost of health care, all of these things become important. Employers are going to have to find a way of controlling costs, which really is controlling utilization, and we need data and predictability to do that,” Serio said. “We need to justify to an employee when we make changes to the health plan and we are running out of what we can cost shift.”

Eagle Technology Inc.

Unique Computer Systems FZE, a software solutions provider, was selected to be the authorized agent to serve the Middle East market for Mequon-based Eagle Technology Inc. and its computerized maintenance and management system (CMMS), ProTeus V.

Unique Computer Systems FZE is a division of Unique Maritime Group, based in Sharjah, U.A.E with a U.S. office in New Iberia, La. Unique Computer Systems FZE will provide regional customers with consulting, installations, training and first-level technical support. Unique will also support and assist Eagle’s corporate partners as well as other controls contractors with training and installation support. Because of the partnership, ProTeus V is now available in an Arabic translation.

Kubin-Nicholson Corp.

Kubin-Nicholson Corp., Kenosha, purchased a new VUTEk QS3200 digital press and i-XL44 cutting table with i-Cut Vision software. The new products will make it possible for customers to print short-run or prototype point-pf-purchase (POP) displays quickly and affordably. In the past, POP displays were printed on paper or vinyl and then mounted on corrugated cardboard or foamcore. The VUTEk digital print press prints directly on nearly any substrate up to two-inches thick, including: plastic, paper, cardboard, Coroplast, metal and wood up to 10 and-a-half feet wide. The i-XL44 cutting table can cut nearly any substrate up to 87″ x 120″.

Wonderbox Technologies LLC

Wonderbox Technologies LLC, Mequon, launched version 4.1 of the Enterprise System for the dental benefit management industry. The new version has been redesigned to include a subscriber contract-centric and structured view of enrollment data, an emphasis on group/product relationships, and an expanded user interface to include recently added data elements within the enrollee and eligibility data records. All of the modules in the Enterprise System have been rewritten to support Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0.

HK Systems Inc.

HK Systems Inc., New Berlin, launched version 9.0 of HKEMS warehouse control system. The product controls and coordinates container sorting, storage and movement within the facility and provides supervisory control for equipment. New features of the HKEMS include real time graphical display of load movement, equipment status, and visual notification of situations requiring human intervention; the ability to pull in live video from Ethernet-enabled cameras monitoring the system; an alert feature, customizable by format, schedule and user role that allows system alarms to be sent to an email addresses and mobile phones; real time health and performance data display; and customizable associate Standard Operating Procedures into screen views and with any system alarm.

AccountablIT

AccountablIT, West Bend, created a second shift information technology (IT) staff to better accommodate client business needs. By creating a second shift IT staff, AccountablIT will eliminate the need to pass on overtime costs to clients who would otherwise pay higher hourly rates for non-standard service hours. AccountablIT has the ability to remotely monitor and maintain technology assets for small businesses and offers flat rate IT services.

Metrix LLC

Metrix LLC, Waukesha, signed a contract with the New York City Department of Buildings, to utilize Metrix service automation software to automate their inspection process. As part of the Buildings Field Inspection Recording and Scheduling Technologies project (B-FIRST), the Department of Buildings will use Metrix 5 software to schedule inspections, route inspectors throughout the city, record results and post them on a Web-based program. The New York City Department of Buildings ensures the safe and lawful use of over 950,000 buildings and properties by enforcing the Building Code and Zoning Resolution.

Sperry Marine, Charlottesville, Va., a business unit of Northrop Grumman Corp., L.A., will implement Metrix Advanced Service and Metrix Mobile Techlink to automate their worldwide service operations. Sperry Marine provides and supports smart navigation and ship control solutions for the global marine industry. The company has locations in 16 countries and authorized service depots in more than 250 locations worldwide. Sperry Marine will use Metrix software for mobile field service, service call management, contracts and warranties, as well as integrating service inventory and financial transactions with their Baan enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other financial systems worldwide.

RedPrairie Corp.

RedPrairie Corp., Waukesha, implemented new features into its Warehouse Management and Workforce Management solutions that support third party logistics (3PL) providers. Included in the offering are features created for 3PLs that focus on specific vertical industries including automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers, food cold chain storage providers, co-packers that operate in the CPG industry, and retailer cross dock facilities.

RedPrairie has integrated eLearning capabilities into the RedPrairie Supply Chain Execution suite. The integration provides automated monitoring of employee training programs and learning milestones and alerts supervisors when training and observations are due. RedPrairie’s Learning Management solution blends computer-based eLearning courses with classroom training and on-the-job observations and coaching.

RedPrairie will implement RedPrairie Warehouse Management for McPherson Oil Products, Trussville, Ala. McPherson is a distributor of industrial lubricants and a full service petroleum products and services company. The RedPrairie warehouse and enterprise solutions are expected to improve operational efficiencies and productivity, increase inventory turns and increase customer satisfaction.

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Brookfield, launched a new online e-learning course that provides participants with an overview and requirements for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The course covers enforcement, regulations and plan requirements and examines fiduciary requirements, funding of plans and the types of plans covered under ERISA. The ERISA course is designed for those new to ERISA or practitioners needing a refresher and/or clarification in the area, professionals wanting to expand their ERISA knowledge, benefits and human resources managers, new benefits and human resources staff, administrative staff and small business owners and management.

Poblocki Sign Co.

Poblocki Sign Co., West Allis, launched an online reorder system for customers in need of replacement signs. The online reorder system offers an online catalog of an individual client’s signage system. Customers select which sign types need to be reordered and are able to customize the message for each sign and specify order details. Poblocki Sign plans to have its major reorder clients online by the end of the year. Poblocki focuses on signage-exterior, interior and display cases.

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