When it comes to private exchange operators, Array Health differs from most, in that the technology company powers many insurers’ private exchanges, including Highmark Blue Shield in Pittsburgh and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. The company’s CEO, Jonathan Rickert, shares how private exchanges are changing the way health care is sold in the United States.


What is the structure of your exchange? What makes it different?
Array Health is a technology company that’s focused on bringing consumers and insurers closer together by powering a personalized health insurance experience. We sell an e-commerce platform that we’ve been refining for the last eight years to health insurers to help them power their own proprietary private exchanges. Ultimately, our company’s mission is to try to bring world class e-commerce to health care.

The technology allows insurers to personalize the health insurance experience for employers and consumers similar to retail e-commerce, including decision support technology, greater access, and greater choice. The platform also gives employers the tools they need to streamline administration. It’s a really comprehensive suite of tools that includes shopping, enrollment, billing, payment and all the member maintenance components, including integration into all the carriers’ key systems.

We also spent a lot of our attention and energy on proprietary decision support technology, which gives consumers the information, choice and level of personalization they need to confidently select a health plan and ancillary coverage that is right for them.

How do you recruit clients?
We are really proud that we have a great reputation among our current clients, so it’s a lot of word of mouth. Opportunities that come to us, people talk about us. It’s a really small community and having a strong reputation has allowed us to consistently grow our business.
We also have a direct sales team that is out in the market talking to prospective insurers and working with them to help better understand their needs and private exchange strategies.

What is your relationship with brokers?
We work directly with insurers and our technology provides them with e-commerce support throughout the whole value chain, which includes brokers. Our broker administration support module that we developed helps brokers deliver excellent service. The module was designed to help brokers manage a wide range of tasks efficiently. That includes onboarding new groups, managing employee information, handling qualified life events, changing defined contribution amounts, making various updates and changes, etc. We provide them with the tools and capabilities they need to be efficient and effective at doing their jobs – supporting their employer clients.
We are a little bit different than some of the exchanges you’ve talked to in your series that are more focused on being a broker, we are an e-commerce technology company. We are in the business of licensing the technology to health plans.

Also see: Private exchanges: 'A proxy for an industry-wide revolution'

How did 2015 open enrollment compare to 2014?
We are seeing unprecedented interest from health insurers that are interested in offering their own proprietary exchange. We’re really bullish on the private exchange model and very excited to be in this part of the health care industry — really helping push innovation forward and helping bring sophisticated e-commerce technology to health care where it is desperately needed.

Also see: Private exchanges: a complex process


Where do you see private HIX’s fitting in the health care game moving forward?
We see a huge opportunity for private exchanges. We believe the industry is really just getting started. We believe that purchasing health insurance through a private exchange will become the new normal as more and more employers move to defined contribution plans and customers become much more comfortable taking more of an active role in selecting and personalizing their health coverage.

Editor’s note: This story is part of an continuing series of one-on-one interviews with private exchange leaders and top decision-makers across the U.S. Know of an exchange expert who should be profiled? Email Brian.Kalish@sourcemedia.com.

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