Private exchanges may promote payer-provider collaboration

Health insurance, pen and stethoscope

Employers' continued interest in private health insurance exchanges likely will lead to a boost in industry innovation and an increase in payer-provider collaboration, according to a new report from Leavitt Partners.

As of April, 6 million Americans had enrolled in a private exchange this year--double the number of 2014 enrollees, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. And the business outlook for private exchanges remains strong, with 52 percent of insurance professionals saying private exchanges helped them reduce administrative costs.

However, Leavitt Partners recognized that "employers have a value problem and they are demanding a solution from the market. They want streamlined administration, lower cost, expanded choice, higher employee recognition of employer investment in benefits, improved market efficiency and innovation."

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Insurers can offer solutions by enhancing efficiency and choice in private exchange plans by including, for example, centers of excellence, telemedicine and wellness programs. Indeed, "private exchanges will be the economic and service resource that can fulfill employer value requirements, meaningfully engage consumers and strongly contribute to the long-term viability of the employer-sponsored insurance market," Leavitt Partners said in the report.

One such step insurers can take is to collaborate with providers to form private exchange networks that promote clinical integration with unique access to certain delivery systems. For example, Aetna announced plans last year to establish a private exchange that's connected with its ACO models. Meanwhile, Highmark partnered with Array Health to create different medical product bundles available on their private exchanges that target different consumers.

To learn more:
- here's the Leavitt Partners report (.pdf)

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