FIRST CONTACT – Hewitt Brings Consulting Expertise To Employees

June 21, 2000 ( - Plan sponsors will soon be able to connect employees with a new level of health benefit, as consulting firm Hewitt Associates brings its consultants online for the first time. Hewitt is setting up a separate Internet company that will help employees better understand their health plans by linking them with its consulting expertise.

Thus far six Fortune 500 clients have reportedly signed up for the service, known as Sageo. The online venture will initially employ 200 consultants and professionals who will be available to guide employees through their health plan choices on a round-the-clock basis. The program, which will be operational next month, will service 400,000 employees, their dependents and retirees during this year’s “open enrollment” season.

Initially, covered employees will interact directly with plans designed by the consulting firm, with Hewitt experts available via a toll-free call center that can also field claim disputes. Eventually, Sageo will allow workers to interact with Hewitt experts live on the Internet.

Hewitt is reportedly the first national benefits firm to move client’s entire health package onto the Internet, but others including William M. Mercer, are said to be considering similar endeavors. 

Hewitt isn’t aware of any customer downsizing in human-resource departments as a result of the service, according to the Chicago Tribune.

 – Nevin Adams