Digital Benefit Advisors has launched a private exchange in Vermont, with plans to expand to 12 states within 90 days, a company executive told Employee Benefit Adviser and Health Insurance Exchange Tuesday.

The Vermont exchange, Digital Benefits Marketplace, will be open to employers with 50 or more employees. It will offer health, life, disability, accident, critical illness, dental and vision insurance, along with other products and services. Digital will handle the administrative functions, the company said.

The exchange will use plan-sourced technology, the provider of which Digital declined to identify, but noted there are only about ten legitimate providers in the marketplace.

The time to launch a private exchange was right, says Bob Gaydos, principal of Digital Benefit Advisors Vermont, and Digital’s national director of private marketplaces, because:

  • The fundamental idea of defined contribution is correct, he says, but the concept never reached the small-group market until health care reform.
  • Systems built for a group of 50 or 1,000 previously involved unique build-ups. But not anymore, Gaydos says. Now, Digital is able to pre-build the components needed for a private exchange without having to re-create a new one every time.

Gaydos explains that although Digital has operations across the country, Vermont was the perfect place to start its private exchange, as the Green Mountain State is planning to move to a single-payer system, creating a “perfect opportunity” to launch a private exchange and test the market.

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