Employers explore new options with private exchanges

As the state exchanges gain traction, private exchanges are drawing their own spotlight as a new way to provide employer-based health benefits and drawing high-profile converts such as IBM, Walgreens, and Sears. The year ahead will shed light on whether more employers will migrate to private exchanges, whether those that have already transitioned will stay with the approach, and how employees will react.

What are the implications?

Employees prefer some choice in health insurance plans
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Implications of private exchanges:

  • Employers should evaluate all their options, from continuing to offer limited health plan choices to evaluating private exchanges.
  • Benefits brokers and consultants are embracing private exchanges to expand future revenue sources.
  • Health insurers and new entrants are participating in private exchanges, sometimes serving as the general managers of private exchanges of their own.
  • Providers may see more patients with leaner benefits as employees and retirees opt for less expensive coverage.