Five unnamed U.S. employers will offer benefits through Mercer’s private exchange, the Mercer Marketplace, starting in 2014, the company announced Monday.

The employers, whose names will not be released until employees are notified during open enrollment, range in size from 800 to 25,000 employees and represent a range of industries. They will offer medical, dental, life, disability and voluntary benefit choices through the exchange.

Some will offer self-funded medical and dental plans on the exchange while others will offer fully insured plans. The industries represented include retail, transportation, media, food and beverage and professional services.

The announcement comes as employers continue to move forward to comply with the Affordable Care Act, despite the Obama administration’s announcement of a one-year delay — until Jan. 1, 2015 — for compliance with the employer mandate.

“We are thrilled to welcome these five employers as early adopters for offering benefits through our private exchange for 2014," says Mercer President and CEO Julio A. Portalatin. “As their diversity illustrates, Mercer Marketplace is flexible and easily tailored to an employer’s size, needs and financing preference.”

Mercer announced the formation of its marketplace in January. It was developed by Benefitfocus and is available to employers with at least 100 employees. The exchange provides access to a broad array of benefits — both traditional and voluntary — from multiple insurance providers, along with education tools and support to help employees customize their choices to better fit their needs, the firm says.

According to Mercer, 56% of employers are considering a private exchange to provide benefits to their active employees or retirees. And the company says it is in discussions with other employers for them to join the marketplace through 2014 and 2015.

Join attendees for discussion of this and other breaking developments in the HIX marketplace at our “Private Healthcare Exchanges Conference,” July 17-18 at the Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago.

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