The Private Benefit Exchange Index is unchanged from last month. However, operators say they expect to report increased numbers next month after they’ve tallied the results of the year-end open enrollment period.

To date, the PBE Index shows 37,800 employers using an exchange, 2.8 million employees signing up for benefits through one of the online marketplaces, and 5.6 million people covered by benefit plans sold through the sites.

And the exchanges appear primed for growth in 2017.

One of the reasons is that operators are offering more products on their platforms, which is attracting the attention of workers.

The average number of insurance products that organizations are offering on private benefit exchanges grew from 12.9 in 2013 to 14.2 in 2015, according to Private Exchange Research Council numbers cited in a December report from the Society for Human Resource Management. PERC is backed by benefit brokers and consultants.

“Today, more employees and dependents are enrolling in private benefit exchanges as the number of available products has expanded,” the SHRM report says.

While the Index was flat against the previous month, since June 2015, when the PBE Index was launched, the number of employers using exchanges has increased 144%, the number of employees enrolling in benefits through the marketplaces has risen 92%, and the number of lives covered by the plans sold on the platforms has jumped 100%.

Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser will continue to track the month-over-month growth in the online benefit marketplaces. To create the PBE Index, EBA and EBN collect data from eight leading exchange operators: benefitsCONNECT, bswift, Connecture, Frenkel Benefits, Lockton, Marcum, Medica and Softheon. 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 benefitnews.com/exchanges.

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