Early Adopters Speak Out on the Benefits of Private Exchanges
By Jami Kelmenson
At the 2015 Conference Board “Private Health Insurance Exchange” conference in Boston last month, a host of early adopters from several large employers, including Liazon clients ITT Corporation and TitleMax, spoke out as to why and how they made the change, and lessons learned.
Here are some key takeaways presented by exchange providers, consultants, and an enthusiastic group of employer clients eager to share their experiences on the following topics:
– The best feature of an exchange for employees is choice – it’s consistently rated the #1 component according to Towers Watson data.
– Exchanges make sense because choosing benefits involves very personal decisions and it’s a confidential way for employees to make the best decisions.
– A new normal is emerging that treats employees like consumers – 70% of employees believe their organization should understand them to the same degree that employees are expected to understand their external customers.
– Consumers expect everything to be available to them on a mobile device – for private exchanges that could mean physician finders for each network being accessible through a mobile app.
– Employee expectations of support are getting higher.
The Cost Factor:
– 92% of early adopters of private exchanges are satisfied that it reduces costs.
– Private exchanges have the potential to create actual savings in the cost of health care, the more they grow in size.
– 92% of employees said the benefit information they received helped them make informed choices.
– Employees should be empowered answer exchange questions truthfully, as a good decision support tool will really provide the right output when they do.
– People going into the exchange experience might know that they need help in the form of decision support, but after the fact, they appreciate its value even more.
– Cost is not the only reason employers switch to private exchanges – ease of administration and a favorable employee experience are two other big reasons.
– The integration of systems that Exchanges bring helps to ease the burden on the HR staff so that everything is available to them from one source – no digging around for different access to multiple systems to find what they need.
The Future of Exchanges:
– Personalized products are the future of digital health – this will have an impact on insurance.
– Younger employees will continue to demand technological solutions for traditional HR issues.
– Venture funding for digital health innovation is on the rise, projected to increase from $4B to $7B by 2017, according to Accenture, although the revenue growth has yet to match the funding. Digital will be in the “DNA” of health care and insurance 10 years out.
While a lot of this may sound like “inside baseball” to those in the industry who have been monitoring the Exchange environment for a while, the fact that companies such as DuPont, Eastman Chemical, GameStop, Time Inc. and others are speaking out on the industry’s behalf bodes well for those HR execs and corporate leaders who have been maintaining a “wait and see” attitude. Now that they can see how well private exchanges have worked for the early adopters, the time is ripe to act.
 Source: 2014 Global Workforce Study, Towers Watson
 Towers Watson research on OneExchange, 2015