Enrollment in private health care exchanges is expected to double to 12 million in 2016, eventually exploding to 40 million by 2018, according to the global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture.

To stay abreast of this and other private exchange trends, advisers, employers, insurers and other legal and industry experts will share their insights about private exchanges at this year’s EBA/EBN Private Healthcare Exchanges conference in downtown Chicago, July 23-24.

This year’s lineup of speakers include employers who have made the jump into a private exchange, including representatives from Walgreens, Hallmark Cards, Marathon Oil and Sachs Electronic Company. In an opening keynote address, Walgreens Director of Global Health and Mobility, Tom Sondergeld, will discuss the drug store’s moves in year three and beyond, from plan migration to plan utilization.

Sondergeld will also share where Walgreens is identifying cost savings now that initial migration savings have been realized. He will also discuss employee reactions to the move to a private exchange and a bit about the company’s future outlook.

Since many advisers and benefit insiders may have lingering questions about what exactly a private exchange is — is it technology enabled ben admin? — Aon’s executive vice president and head of global strategy Matthew Levin and ConnectedHealth’s Ann Mond Johnson will myth-bust what exactly a private exchange entails. The duo will provide a tool kit of key questions an employer needs to think through prior to meeting with exchanges. They will also share a roadmap to what an end goal might look like no matter what size; active or retiree; and other variables apply to the exchange.

Another pair of expert speakers, Ernie Harris, executive vice president of business development at Maestro Health, and Russell Carpentieri, managing director and partner at Opus Advisory Group, will discuss the “new school” class of brokers who bring employers cutting-edge technology, customizable options and competitive cost-containment tools. No longer can brokers win on customer service alone, they say.

Picking the right exchange

One of the challenges facing advisers today is whether to develop a private exchange offering and how to do so, whether it be developing their own exchange, partnering with others or using someone’s technology. In a session to help analyze private exchanges, panelists from Aetna, Buck Consultants at Xerox, CodeBaby and Fair Health will share insights, advice and solutions for delivering a comprehensive consumer-friendly approach including; health plan choice, decisions support tools, the importance of understanding cost transparency, employee contributions and cost sharing.

Employers are also challenged to decide whether or not a move toward a private exchange is appropriate for the company and its employees. Connecture’s VP of Product Design and User Experience Christopher Neuharth will discuss the company’s research that gauges Americans’ views on health insurance and their experiences selecting and enrolling in plans online. Neuharth will share how employers, brokers, and carriers can empower even first-time recipients of coverage to use their private exchanges to make sound decisions.

In addition to other sessions covering the carriers, legal implications, etc., there will be time for networking with experts from all corners of the industry.

Click here to register to attend or for more information on the Private Healthcare Exchanges Conference in Chicago July 23-24.

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