10 insurers to sell plans on Mercer's private exchange


As some industry experts continue to doubt whether federal officials can get the health insurance exchanges off the ground by October, private versions of these online marketplaces are moving full speed ahead.

Consulting company Mercer announced Monday that 10 major insurers will provide health coverage through its private exchange, called Mercer Marketplace. Among the insurers are Aetna, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth and multiple Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.

"The high-caliber carrier participation in Mercer's private benefits exchange matches the increasing interest displayed by our clients and prospects," Mercer CEO Julio Portalatin said in a statement.

One reason private exchanges are likely to succeed, Mercer says, is they provide an "attraction and retention tool," giving companies more flexibility to provide insurance benefits while offering their employees more coverage choices, Forbes reported.

Mercer isn't the only company creating its own private exchange to compete with the state and federally run versions. Human resources consultant Aon Hewitt will be opening its own private marketplace this fall with products from at least nine insurers, including UnitedHealth, Cigna and Health Care Service Corporation.

Some insurers are even setting up private exchanges, too. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City is creating an exchange for its large-group members, while Health Care Service Corporation is building a private marketplace after it bought a majority stake in Bloom Health, which already operates an online exchange, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Mercer statement
- read the Forbes article

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