Private benefit exchange companies launch coalition

A group of industry players connected to private exchanges launched a coalition Wednesday to serve as a forum to share ideas and best practices, and to increase awareness of private exchanges.

The Private Exchange Coalition includes representatives from Array Health, Bloom Health, ConnectedHealth and Connecture and the organization states its goal is to “help establish private exchanges as a long-term solution for enabling consumers to easily evaluate and select employee benefits that best meet their health care, economic and lifestyle needs.”

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The members share a common goal, “to enhance the insurance and benefits experience by bringing the most modern tools and technologies to employers and consumers,” says Simeon Schindelman, CEO of Bloom Health and the coalition’s co-chair. “This coalition provides a collaborative platform for … private exchanges to expedite industry transformation and connect consumers to the insurance products they require.”

“We are thrilled to work in-hand with other PEC members to promote awareness of the value and shape the future direction of private exchanges,” he adds.

According to an analysis by consultancy Accenture, private exchanges are projected to have 12 million enrollees by 2016 and 40 million enrollees by 2018, ultimately surpassing state and federally funded exchanges. However, their growth to date has been modest. A survey by health tech company bswift, in conjunction with Employee Benefit News, found that 5% of large employers self-reported they are participating in a private exchange as of 2015. Of those not currently in an exchange, 6% said they are “considering” a private exchange for 2016 and future years, the survey found.

The Private Exchange Coalition was convened by health care intelligence firm Leavitt Partners, which will advise the coalition, and selected its founding members. “Private exchanges represent a fundamental shift in insurance distribution channels that allow for consumerism to flourish and issuers and brokers to deliver increased value,” says Leavitt Partners CEO Rich McKeown.

Also see: Private exchanges: Not right for everyone

The coalition aims to foster “the dialogue required to ensure the interoperability of relevant systems and adoption of shared standards while simultaneously presenting employers, brokers and consumers as a trusted source prepared to address questions on private exchanges,” adds Ryan Howells, vice president at Connecture and co-chair of the coalition.

Another private exchange coalition already exists: an employer trade group formed to solicit and provide to employers unbiased, comparative information and support on private exchange strategies and purchasing decisions. The Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative is composed of Employers Health Coalition, Midwest Business Group on Health, Northeast Business Group on Health and Pacific Business Group on Health, in collaboration with consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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