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Unum’s Online Tools Help Employers Navigate ACA

“Pay or Play” activities will help companies determine whether they should offer health coverage or pay a penalty.

Unum has launched three tools to help employers navigate the tricky decisions that come with health care reform. Its “Pay to Play” activities are the latest additions to a suite of materials that provide advice on overall benefits strategy.

The insurer’s product line, which includes disability, life, accident and critical illness coverage, is not directly affected by reform; however, Unum has taken an active role in helping clients evaluate how the developing legislation will affect their businesses.

“The goal of the tools is to try and put [information] in a place where people can consume it and take action based on it,” says Bethany Branon, assistant VP of digital marketing operations at Unum. “What we wanted to do was take very complicated material and be able to update it quickly, and bring people through the process as they’re trying to make decisions.”

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Each tool is designed to address a unique aspect of reform. The interactive tool allows businesses to enter employee information to learn whether they are subject to the employer mandate and any resulting penalties. It is intended to simplify the ACA and provide insight on how it develops.

Those who want to learn more about the results of the interactive tool may consult the decision tree, which provides a road map of the decision-making process. The third tool, an employer responsibility timeline, describes the health care reform decisions that businesses will face through 2018.

In order to best meet user needs, the core development team consulted customers to determine which portions of the ACA needed most clarification. Understanding their concerns taught developers where they could add value, Branon explains.

“We also ensured that when we built this, it was built responsibly and was digestible to the end user,” she continues. The online tools were developed using responsive design so they can easily be used on mobile devices.

The “Pay or Pay” initiative supports the overarching focus on customer experience at Unum. Users can provide feedback and engage with the insurer through social media links embedded in the tools, and the goal is to eventually facilitate a two-way conversation between Unum and its policyholders.

“We’re going to be partaking in tools and online experiences in a way that will continue to grow over time,” says Branon.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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