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How Aetna's acquisition of Bswift affects all insurers' business


Aetna's recent announcement that it's acquiring the private health insurance exchange company Bswift could have big implications for the health insurance industry as more insurers turn their focus on private exchanges, reported Health Data Management.

The move signals, for example, that insurers are taking exchange business very seriously and that more insurers may look to expand their private exchange offerings, particularly as the trend of employers moving their workers to private exchanges continues to grow, as FierceHealthPayer has previously reported.

Aetna spokeswoman Cynthia Michener told HDM that Bswift's solutions will help the insurer expand its client base as it builds "the next generation of our private exchange offerings." When insurers operate their own private exchanges, they can potentially generate new revenue, recruite new members, boost consumer loyalty and improve member satisfaction.

"As private exchanges become a bigger part of an insurer's strategy, which we see with carriers and potentially benefit administrators, we expect that more acquisitions are possible and even probable," Barbara Gniewek, principal of PricewaterHouseCoopers human resource services practice, told HDM.

One reason other insurers may make similar moves to buy private exchanges is that it enables them to innovate faster. Aetna recognized this fact, and realized the importance for consumers to understand which plan to select and buy, espeically since the process often is confusing, notes the announcement. 

What's more, although smaller organizations often have an easier time innovating than larger entities, they need capital to do so, Mike Smith, director of exchange solutions at Lockton, told HDM. This partnership is a benefit for both organizations so they can take innovation to the next level. 

To learn more:
- here's the Aetna announcement
- read the Health Data Management article

Related Articles:
Kaiser Family Foundation: Private exchanges could reshape the health insurance industry
Employers continue to shift workers onto private exchanges
Report: Exchanges will transform the health insurance business
3 keys to developing private exchanges