Merced County Selects Benefitfocus to Support Health Plan Changes in Wake of ACA

BENEFITFOCUS® Marketplace selected to engage employees and introduce new health plan options

Charleston, S.C. – February 9, 2016 – Benefitfocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: BNFT), a leading provider of cloud-based benefits management software, today announced that Merced County, California, has selected BENEFITFOCUS® Marketplace to modernize its benefits management process. With powerful automation tools and a consumer-friendly enrollment experience, the County will be able to more easily execute on its evolving benefits strategy.

“We only have one person handling benefits for more than 4,000 active employees and retirees. As we make plan design changes due to the ACA, we needed a flexible platform to expand our administrative capacity,” said Scott De Moss, assistant executive officer at Merced County. “Benefitfocus Marketplace represents a technology upgrade that will streamline our process and provide our employees with the information they need to make better decisions.”

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Merced County will introduce a high deductible health plan (HDHP) in 2016. Benefitfocus Marketplace will act as an extension of the County’s HR office to educate employees on the change and help drive plan adoption. The platform has helped numerous large employers successfully introduce HDHPs, with innovative features including:

  • Multimedia communication tools. Video and event-driven communications leading up to open enrollment help engage employees and educate them on the HDHP.
  • Retail-focused guided shopping experience. A highly personalized, step-by-step enrollment experience helps employees shop for benefits as they would other retail products, allowing them to compare plans and identify the ones that meet their specific needs.

The Benefitfocus Platform, with its integrated decision support and contextual cues, has proven to be a significant catalyst for HDHP adoption among municipalities, driving participation rates nearly 50 percent higher than the industry standard. This is good news for cost-constrained local governments seeking to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax, or “Cadillac tax,” which will levy hefty penalties on health plans that exceed certain premium thresholds starting in 2020.  

“As the growing shift to HDHPs places greater responsibility on consumers, there’s an unprecedented need to educate and empower them to protect their health and wealth,” said Benefitfocus CEO Shawn Jenkins. “We’re excited to help organizations provide their employees with better information so they can make better decisions that both improve their lives and support the organization’s benefits strategy.”

About Merced County

Merced County is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley (also known as the Central Valley) of California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 255,793, and the total area of the county is approximately 1,980 square miles. The County is comprised of six incorporated cities – Merced (County seat), Atwater, Livingston, Los Banos, Gustine and Dos Palos – and 11 urban communities. County and City municipalities are a major source of employment, along with agriculture, retail, manufacturing, food processing and tourism. Merced County has an excellent school system, including a modern community college, Merced College and the University of California’s tenth campus, the University of California, Merced, which is the first research university built in the U.S. in the 21st century. For more information, visit www.co.merced.ca.us.

About Benefitfocus

Benefitfocus (NASDAQ: BNFT) provides a leading cloud-based benefits management platform that simplifies how organizations and individuals shop for, enroll in, manage and exchange benefits.  Every day leading employers, insurance companies and millions of consumers rely on our platform to manage, scale and exchange benefits data seamlessly.  In an increasingly complex benefits landscape, we bring order to chaos so our clients and their employees have access to better information, make better decisions and lead better lives. Learn more at www.benefitfocus.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Actual results might differ materially from those explicit or implicit in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include: the need to innovate and provide useful products and services; changes in government regulations; the immature and volatile nature of the market for our products and services and other factors that could impact our anticipated growth; management of growth; fluctuations in our financial results; general economic risks; reliance on key personnel; our ability to compete effectively; our ability to maintain our culture and recruit and retain qualified personnel; privacy, security and other risks associated with our business; and the other risk factors set forth from time to time in our SEC filings, copies of which are available free of charge within the Investor Relations section of the Benefitfocus website at http://investor.benefitfocus.com/sec.cfm or upon request from our investor relations department. Benefitfocus assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

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