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More Employers Are Looking to Private Exchanges for Health InsuranceMore and more small- to mid-sized businesses are turning to private exchanges as a way to offer their employees insurance while shifting more administrative hassles to the companies participating in the exchange. Switching to an exchange doesn’t guarantee companies will save money on employee benefits or provide better service to the employees using those benefits.

Before changing your insurance provider, you should do your research and consider all your options. These articles can help you get started better understanding the potential pros and cons of going with a private exchange for your employees’ insurance.

  • Thinking Strategically About Private Exchanges. SHRM: “‘Private exchanges have become a new buzzword, but they are really a new take on an old idea,’ said Jody Dietel, chief compliance officer at Wageworks. ‘First-generation private exchanges offered only medical benefits. Now, second-generation or maturing exchanges offer a variety of benefits,’ including dental, vision and various kinds of supplemental health coverage.” 
  • Sam's Club Offers Insurance Through HIX Because Members Wanted It. Health Insurance Exchange: “Sam’s Club, the big-box members-only warehouse, decided to offer health insurance to its customers through a private health care exchange because those small business owner-members were asking for it. In October, the retail chain said it was partnering with Aetna to offer health insurance to members through a private exchange to small businesses.”
  • Survey: More Employers Move to Private Health Exchanges. Kansas City Business Journal: “It turns out employers are pretty excited about the possible benefits of health insurance exchanges — just not the ones set up by the federal government. Private insurance exchanges are becoming increasingly popular among employers who want to continue providing health benefits but are tired of the hassle that comes with doing so, said Mark Whiting, a principal at Mercer. According to the company's recent employer survey of about 2,600 employers, 25 percent of companies say they will move to a private exchange in the next two years and 45 percent said they would do so within five years.” 
  • Private Exchanges: Panacea or Problem? Insurance Thought Leadership: “The consumer-driven healthcare and other private exchange lingo used to describe these arrangements often means different things to different people. Some ‘private exchanges’ are little more than high-tech online cafeteria enrollment arrangements...Employers need to scrutinize proposals both for compliance and other legal risks, affordability and cost and other suitability. When considering a private exchange or other arrangement, it is important to understand clearly the proposal, its design, operation, participating vendors, the charges, what is excluded or costs extra and who is responsible for delivering what.” 
  • What Do Employers and Employees Really Think About Private Exchanges? The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism: “Anything new takes a bit of adjustment on the part of its users. Heck, remember your first smartphone? So we decided to look specifically at how second-year employees feel about choosing their benefits through our exchanges, compared to first-year employees. Employees are more comfortable with using a private exchange in their second year and beyond. Second-year employees are more likely to understand how much their employers care about their well-being (26 percent in our survey were more likely to indicate that they appreciate their company’s contribution to their benefits). They are becoming more engaged in their health care decisions overall and better understand what their benefits cover.” 

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Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses enhance and optimize employee benefit plans, enrich compensation and rewards programs, and save money on benefits communication, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.

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