The Private Benefit Exchange Index reached new milestones this month, with the number of employees surpassing 3 million and the number of lives covered breaking the 6 million mark.

The number of organizations bringing their workers to an online benefits marketplace also grew, to 37,398 from the previous month’s 37,092.

The Index has seen robust growth since the editors first started compiling numbers in June 2015. Granted, components of the Index saw dips in February as certain exchange operators refined their reporting methods. However, in the past 10 months, the number of employers using exchanges increased 139%, the number of employees enrolling in benefit through the marketplaces rose 107% and the number of lives covered by the plans sold on the platforms jumped 120%.

And research continues to point to further movement toward the exchanges. The Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative recently released the results of an employer survey that found 46% of respondents have moved, or are considering moving, to an exchange. PEEC is a nonprofit business coalition, which include the Employers Health Coalition, Midwest Business Group on Health, Northeast Business Group on Health, the Pacific Business Group on Health and PricewaterhouseCoopers, that provides private exchange consultative services.

Other interesting findings from the PEEC survey:

  • More than half (53%) of respondents said that if an industry peer moved to a private exchange they would likely follow.
  • Almost half of the early movers to private exchanges said they saved money.
  • Small and mid-size companies have greater interest in moving to an online marketplace than larger ones.

Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser’s Private Benefit Exchange Index follows the month-over-month growth in the online benefit marketplaces. EBA and EBN collect data from eight leading exchange operators on the number of employers using each platform, the number of employees enrolled in benefits through each platform and the number of lives covered by the policies sold through each platform. Every month, the editors aggregate an update the operators’ numbers.

The eight exchanges selected by the editors to participate in the PBE Index are a representative cross-section of the operator market and include benefitsCONNECT, bswift, Hanna, Lockton, Medica, Simple Insurance, Softheon and Solstice. The information provided by these brokers, insurers and technology-platform companies is self-reported and rounded.

For more information on the PBE Index, to access a directory of private benefit exchange operators, and to see the latest PBE news, go to http://www.benefitnews.com/exchanges.

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