Wizened consumers who are able to analyze their entire out-of-pocket exposure.  That’s the goal of ConnectedHealth’s private exchange, says Joe Donlan, the company’s president. However, he predicts that increased consumer engagement is just part of the wave toward more employers adopting private exchanges. Donlan shares his view on where the industry is headed and how brokers fit into the exchange system.

What is the structure of your exchange? Why makes it different?

We built our exchange with the consumer in mind. Everything that we’ve done in terms of the shopping platform has been, how do you provide a framework and context for a consumer to make a more informed or a good health care choice?

Much of that is built off of a recommendation engine that we’ve developed. It truly helps people with their health plan choice. It helps [them] figure out and recommend a health plan based on what is best for themselves and their family members.

We ask them basic demographic information, some information around preferences. It understands what your risk tolerance might and what your behaviors are in terms of expected health care. By doing that, we are able to help someone figure out which plan is best for them based on their total out-of-pocket exposure, not just what the premium might be.

How do you recruit clients?

Our approach is to work with employers and predominately through aggregators, such as payroll companies, associations, health plans and other brokers.

Our platform provides a diverse opportunity to provide solutions not only to group oriented populations but also individual populations. That gives us a lot of flexibility in working with our partners, depending on who their core customers are what segment they go after.

Also see: Private exchanges: ‘You have to provide the whole solution’

What is your relationship with brokers?

It’s very positive —it’s one of our key and primary business channels. We partner with them, they leverage our technology. We also spend a lot of time educating them and getting them to understand the technology. How the technology can help reduce administrative burden on an employer and well as provide templates and capabilities around employee engagement. We've done a lot of work in terms of providing the marketing, the collateral and the go-to-market materials that might allow a big broker to bring it to their employer customers.

How does 2015 open enrollment compare to 2014?

The big difference is there is a heck of a lot less noise and confusion in the market. We anticipate it being far smoother than what it was last year just due to all the noise that was in the market.

We are also seeing a big movement of small groups that are moving into individual coverage. They are either dropping coverage or already have dropped coverage and moving into the individual market.

Also see: Private exchanges: ‘Not a fad or flash in the pan’

Where do you see private HIX’s fitting in the health care game moving forward?

I think there is a big place for private exchanges. They are taking the administrative burden off of human resources departments, which is big. Then you add the layer of the market becoming retail oriented and the ability to provide interactive and personalized tools that go beyond just a transaction and allow you to provide value to an individual employee throughout the life cycle.

Editor’s note: This story is the third in a series of one-on-one interviews with private exchange leaders and top decision-makers across the U.S. Know of an exchange expert who should be profiled? Email Brian.Kalish@sourcemedia.com.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access