With the help of private exchange vendors, employers push healthcare consumerism onto employees

BOSTON, Sept. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Private healthcare exchanges are aggregating services once provided by other stakeholders and expanding their value beyond digital enrollment, as Aite Group has found in its latest report, Private Exchange Vendors: A Review of Group Market Platforms.

Private exchanges provide a rich set of front-end tools allowing employees to compare, buy, and enroll healthcare products, and most provide an equally deep set of back-end capabilities for employers. If private exchange vendors get service aggregation right, their platforms will create a unique revenue opportunity for carriers, brokers, and product partners in the coveted group market. But if they get it wrong, they'll offer just another portal with a unique user ID and password.

Aite Group's research which includes the assessment of 12 technology companies serving the U.S. group health insurance market, examined the group market private exchange value chain. 

The research shows private exchange platforms are bringing consumerism to the group market in the form of benefit product distribution channels while providing employees an online destination of choice (i.e. a portal) to select, use, manage, and pay for benefit products.

All private exchange vendors offer health benefit account products, a key consumerism product, yet most vendors require registration outside the enrollment workflow via their third-party site, which hinders uptake.


"Exchange technology helps move health insurance shopping toward consumerism, allow for the right-sizing of benefits, and decrease costs for employers performing administration; however, the existence of an exchange platform does not negate the need for personal interaction to ensure the right plans are offered and employees are making the right decisions on tough, complicated issues," says Michael Trilli, senior analyst in Health Insurance at Aite Group.

"Employees face a new and likely daunting task in buying their own benefit products. Vendors need to consider a tiered support plan providing them the option to get help or go it alone, and vendors must recognize the need to overstock the decision-support tool chest," says Lindsey O'Connell, research associate in Insurance at Aite Group.

About Aite Group

Aite Group (www.aitegroup.com) is an independent research and advisory firm focused on business, technology, and regulatory issues and their impact on the financial services industry. Aite Group's analysts deliver comprehensive, actionable advice to key market participants in financial services.

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Dr. Marcel Kay
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SOURCE Aite Group