Document Accessibility Challenge

With 1.3 million customers, Capital BlueCross, headquartered in Harrisburg, PA., is the leading health solutions and insurance company in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Like other organizations, Capital BlueCross is making their customer-facing documents compliant with the requirements of Section 508, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and the PDF Universal Accessibility (PDF/UA) specification. Section 1557, the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), put further pressure on health insurers to ensure their documents were accessible.

Capital BlueCross had to act quickly and implement a solution that would deal with the massive new volume of documents that needed remediation. Document remediation, the process of converting publications into a form that is accessible to individuals with disabilities, is a daunting task that frequently requires a significant commitment of time, money and human resources.

The Digital Marketing Team has responsibility for remediating hundreds of publications including benefit documents, contract documents, and medical insurance policies. It’s challenging to accommodate that volume of work while also managing the content of seven busy corporate websites, several social media channels, and a mobile application.

Solution – Document Accessibility Remediation

Capital BlueCross had an existing agreement with CommonLook® (NetCentric Technologies) but based on a much smaller scale. Prior to the most recent legislative requirements, the team was using CommonLook’s services to remediate on average about 50 to 100 documents per year. With the new mandated requirements, that figure jumped closer to 2,000 documents!

Lori Duarte is the Manager of Digital Marketing at Capital BlueCross. “Earlier, we had partnered with CommonLook on a recommendation from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. When the 1557 mandate came down the line, we opted to expand that partnership”.

Prior to ramping up with CommonLook, the marketing team had looked at other providers. “We priced them. We had presentations. They all came in higher priced and promised less service and had a greater turn around time”, Ms. Duarte added.

Another option would have been to bring the remediation process in-house, license the software and train internal staff in how to remediate documents. “The cost to bring all of that in-house and train people to do the job was exorbitant. We were able to prove with CommonLook that their remediation service was far and above the most economical solution”, said Ms. Duarte.

Accessibility Compliance Results

Outsourcing the remediation service to CommonLook has proven to be most cost-effective and the turnaround times are impressive. “I can send one file out or I can send a hundred. It’s a seven-day turnaround. And if I need something done urgently, they can entertain a faster turnaround that.”

Because CommonLook provides similar services to other organizations in the health insurance field, they were able to draw on that experience and show the Capital BlueCross team the best approach and most effective process to use for document remediation. “They put us in touch with other people who had been doing this for years. We talked to them. Once we nailed our part of it, they were ready to go.”

Tallying the Benefits of CommonLook Accessibility Remediation Services

  • Outsourced solution avoided excessive costs of bringing the service in-house.
  • Minimal time required to implement the solution.
  • Fast turnaround times regardless of volume.
  • Experience with other similar clients brought to bear on the situation.
  • Excellent service and response time ongoing.

I can send one file out or I can send a hundred. It’s a seven-day turn around. And if I need something done urgently, they can entertain a faster turnaround that that.


Lori Duarte, Manager of Digital Marketing
Capital BlueCross