Aon Hewitt expects more than 1.2 million employees, retirees and their families to choose health benefits through the company’s exchanges — revising their earlier estimates upward by approximately 500,000.

The company now expects more than 100 companies to pick individual and employer-sponsored health benefits, up from its original estimate of more than 70 companies representing 750,000 people, the company said Tuesday.

“Our exchange solutions offer companies an innovative way to lower costs and increase choice for employees and retirees by leveraging competition and consumerism,” says Cary Grace, CEO of Aon Exchange Solutions, in a statement. “The strong growth and significant interest in our exchanges reinforce that private health exchanges create a more powerful and efficient market for health insurance and improve the way it is evaluated, purchased and used.”

Returning

All 18 companies that participated in Aon’s active health exchange, Aon’s large market private exchange solution for active employees,  in 2014 plan to return for 2015 open enrollment, with more than 850,000 active employees and their eligible dependents .

Of the 18 large employers — more than 5,000 employees each  —  each company reduced their overall health care cost for medical coverage by more than $750 per employee compared to their expected 2014 spending, EBA previously reported.

The active employee exchange includes more than 30 national and regional medical, dental and vision carriers.

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