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    Hannaford Wields Technology to Lower Health Care Costs

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Supermarkets here said it has reduced its overall health care expenses, thanks to innovative employee wellness initiatives, as well as technology-based services from Woburn, Mass.-based HighRoads, which provides employers a system of record to manage HR programs and vendors.

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Supermarkets here said it has reduced its overall health care expenses, thanks to innovative employee wellness initiatives, as well as technology-based services from Woburn, Mass.-based HighRoads, which provides employers a system of record to manage HR programs and vendors.

    Hannaford first implemented the solution in August 2005 and went "live" in November of that year, according to HighRoads chief marketing officer Lori Dustin.

    Two important parts of Hannaford's strategy were to institute a centralized pool of consistent, actionable plan and vendor information, and foster a more competitive marketplace. Both have helped the chain provide lower-cost health and welfare benefits for its more than 25,000 employees and their dependents.

    "While the market at large has experienced annual double-digit health care rate increases, we've held our trend to half of the national average -- while improving our associates' quality of health and outcomes at the same time," said Hannaford director of health care strategy Peter Hayes in a statement. "HighRoads has helped us deliver the best possible plans at the right price, while establishing a highly repeatable process for continually driving value to the organization."

    HighRoads said its collaborative HR Information Management solutions offer unprecedented levels of visibility to information across multiple plans, processes, and transactions to enable informed decision-making and identify opportunities for streamlined management. This automated system lets HR teams concentrate on such tasks as strategic plan design and measuring program effectiveness.

    Benefits of the Hannaford/HighRoads collaboration included plan providers being more directly involved in customizing offerings for Hannaford employees; shorter RFP cycle times, allowing quicker measurement of the market; and what the companies called "significant" yearly savings on contract and administrative costs, the partners said.

    Delhaize-owned Hannaford Bros. Co. operates 158 stores under the Hannaford Supermarket and Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy banners in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

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