About one in five people will buy their insurance from a health insurance exchange in the next three years, and private exchanges will ultimately surpass federal- and state-run versions by 2018, according to a new report by Accenture. Although only 1 million individuals are expected to enroll in private exchanges this year, Accenture predicts nearly 40 million people will be buying their health plans from private exchanges by 2018, topping the 31 million individuals who are forecast to enroll in publicly-funded exchanges. Accenture also estimated 56 percent of the total exchange market will come from private marketplaces in only five years, and about 27 percent of consumers currently insured through employer-based coverage will receive their benefits through a private exchange by 2018.
"The issue right now is a lack of consumer readiness for exchanges, in general, but in particular for private exchanges," said Rich Birhanzel, managing director of Accenture's health administration services. "While private exchange providers have been largely focused on educating employers on the benefits they offer, almost no education has been provided to the employees who are considering enrolling in these health plans." Report