The Private Benefit Exchange Index increased for the sixth straight month and operators expect the numbers to jump now that open enrollment season is here.

Since the Private Benefit Exchange Index was launched, the eight operators participating in the PBE Index’s data collection effort report that more than 1,385 employers have moved workers to their exchanges. This, in turn, has led to an increase of 160,122 employees and 341,095 lives now being covered by benefit plans sold through the sites.

But the operators contributing to the Index aren’t the only ones seeing gains. 

ConnectedHealth, for one, just reported that its Smart Choices Marketplace had more traffic in the first week of the current open enrollment period than in the first full month of last season.

Mercer saw impressive gains for its private exchange, with an increase in estimated lives covered from 1 million in October 2014 to 1.5 million in October 2015.

And Cigna said that it expects lives covered by its private exchange to double in 2016 – this after the insurance carriers said its marketplace doubled from 2014 to 2015.

All the news on this year’s growth comes after impressive gains made during last year’s open enrollments, which Accenture earlier this year said doubled from 2014 to 2015 across the sector.

Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser’s Private Benefit Exchange Index has been tracking the month-over-month growth in the online benefit marketplaces since June.  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 and 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, click here.

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