Private exchanges gain ground in competitive health insurance marketplace

Independence Blue Cross latest to enter private exchange market

Private exchanges are shaping up to be a major player in the healthcare industry--they now cover more than 1.5 million people.

The goal of creating private exchanges is to generate new revenue, retain existing employer groups while recruiting new ones, boost consumer loyalty and improve member satisfaction, of course.

But health insurance exchanges operated by private companies could also boost competition and foster innovation among insurersFierceHealthPayer previously reported. 

Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross is the latest entry into the market sector, announcing this week that it will establish a private exchange marketplace. Beginning October 1 and taking effect on January 1, 2015, the insurer will offer employers with more than 100 employees medical, pharmacy, dental and vision coverage.

"Our customers are unique and so are their employees, which is why we remain committed to offering market-leading, innovative health plans and solutions that fit each of their individual needs," Linda Taylor, Independence senior vice president and chief sales executive, said in the announcement.

Independence says it will provide customers with a diverse selection of plan options and also allow them to manage their own shopping experiences. What's more, the insurer hopes the new private exchange will allows businesses to spend a fixed dollar on each employee's plan--this could, in turn, help businesses better manage their annual budgets, notes the announcement.

Insurers who want to join an established private exchange would do well to remember that the private marketplaces want strong, regional insurers. It's also important for insurers to distinguish their brand and figure out just who they intend to market, as FierceHealthPayer has reported.

For more:
- here's the announcement

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