After massive growth from 2014 to 2015, the carrier expects lives covered to double again in 2016 as open enrollment begins on the carrier’s private exchanges, says Patty Fontneau, president of Cigna's private exchange business. Fontneau discusses the structure of Cigna’s exchange and the distribution model is here to stay.

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

Cigna's exchange is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of our clients. We have a configurable shelf of product and plan choices to ensure we can meet both employer and employee needs. There are multiple product and funding options to allow an employer to tailor their offering. And, we have an easy and intuitive shopping experience with:

  • Multiple medical and dental plan options, as well as vision, group life, accident and disability plan choices.
  • Our national networks including Open Access Plus physician group, Accountable Care Organizations and hospital networks.
  • A full complement of wellness, health engagement and disease management programs
  • 24/7/365 service.
  • Our award-winning online benefits management tools and mobile app.cision support tools that guide the employee through the enrollment process.

What really differentiates us is the integrated value proposition that Cigna products bring to the table. Regardless if an employer chooses Cigna on or off an exchange; our integrated solution helps to positively impact the health outcomes of the employee population.
How do you recruit clients?

It's all about finding the best solution to our clients’ needs. Our team works with brokers and consultants and our exchange is just one of the options we make available.

What is your relationship with brokers?

We have strong relationships with brokers and consultants both nationally and locally. We work closely with them to find the best solution.

How did 2015 open enrollment compare to 2014?

Overall, our private exchange membership doubled from 2014 to 2015 and we expect the same result next year. (Editor’s Note: The company declined to provide exact figures on membership in its private exchange)

Where do you see private benefit exchanges fitting into health care moving forward?

Private exchanges provide many of the benefits that consumers have come to expect as they make critical purchasing decisions. They offer an easy online shopping experience, choice, transparency and year-round engagement in their health journey.

They offer employers an easy administrative solution, greater cost stability and the opportunity to transfer some of the responsibility for health benefit decisions to their employees. Exchanges aren't going away, but will continue to evolve as the market reacts to the complex needs of both employers and employees.

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