UnitedHealth, Cigna, HCSC to sell plans on Aon Hewitt exchange

Human resources consultant Aon Hewitt announced Thursday that it's launching a private health insurance exchange that will take effect this fall. It's the latest example of how private companies, including some insurers, are launching their own private marketplaces to compete with the federal- and state-run exchanges.

Nine national and regional insurers, including UnitedHealth, Cigna and Health Care Service Corporation, will sell plans on Aon Hewitt's exchange, which the company said will operate similar to  government-run marketplaces, reported Business Insurance.

The difference, says Aon Hewitt, is that its exchange will sell plans to employers with more than 100 workers who can't begin shopping the government-run exchanges until 2017, Forbes reported.

"There are examples in every industry, including iTunes, Amazon.com and Orbitz, where the introduction of competition on a retail, consumer level has driven down prices and made the industry more efficient," Ken Sperling, Aon Hewitt's national health exchange strategy leader, said in a statement. "The Aon Hewitt Corporate Exchange is a viable alternative for companies searching for solutions that can reduce cost, transfer risk to insurers, empower employees to make smarter healthcare choices and create a more sustainable healthcare benefit program."

And regardless of the presidential election's affect on the reform law's future, an Aon Hewitt spokeswoman said its "model will exist with or without the state or federal exchanges," Forbes noted.

It's still unclear, however, whether insurers selling plans through Aon Hewitt's exchange can reject applications from consumers with health problems, LifeHealthPro reported. 

To learn more:
- here's the Aon Hewitt statement
- read the Forbes article
- see the Business Insurance article
- check out the LifeHealthPro article