Payers should jump on private exchange train

As private health insurance exchanges grow in popularity, they could catch up with public exchange's enrollment success. About 3 million Americans enrolled in plans through private exchanges this past year, and that number is expected to surpass 10 million by 2015, according to a recent Accenture report, Healthcare Payer News notes.

Industry experts have acknowledged that exchanges operated by private companies could establish managed competition as the predominant way of buying and selling health insurance, and lead to heightened innovation among insurers trying to recruit more members, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Many employers continue to explore private insurance options by allowing workers to shop for their own health plans based on medical needs and costs.

"The interest in private exchanges is like nothing we've seen in recent memory," Eric Grossman, exchange business leader for Mercer's health and benefits business, told Insurance News Net.

Private exchanges keep employers active in the health insurance industry because employer-sponsored plans are more predictable, notes Insurance News Net. What's more, the private option allows for more flexibility by offering plans from multiple insurers.

And if insurers want to jump on the private exchange train, they must focus on three essential aspects--market strategy, product offerings and integrated data--to succeed

Cigna, for example, offers its own private retail exchange solution to employers with more than 51 employees. The insurer offers employees personalized benefit choices that meet employees' financial requirements as well as provides online enrollment guidance. Employers benefit by gaining access to bundling options, which alleviate costly premiums.

For insurers looking to establish a private option, it's important to reduce administrative burdens and look for ways to standardize products while maintaining low costs, adds Healthcare Payer News.

For more:
- here's the Healthcare Payer News article
- check out the Accenture report (.pdf)
- read the Insurance News Net piece
- check out Cigna's site