Michigan Blues: Private exchange boosts price transparency

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan launched a private health insurance exchange three years ago that has since helped employers control coverage costs and enabled consumers to be more aware of how much their healthcare actually costs, reported MiBiz.

The insurer says 94 percent of members who use its private exchange know how much their employers contribute to their plans, compared to just 38 percent of consumers with traditional employer-sponsored plans.

That awareness is a form of price transparency, which Jason Hover, director of group business strategy at Blue Cross, says can help control healthcare costs. "The more engaged consumers are in their health and their own healthcare, the more they will become efficient users of the system," he told MiBiz.

Plus, almost 80 percent of Blue Cross members enrolled in plans sold on the private exchange have chosen a high-deductible option with a $1,000 deductible. Members enrolled in high-deductible plans usually "care more about the cost of their care," Hover said, adding that they're more likely to research costs for procedures.

Blue Cross isn't the only insurer investing in private exchanges, particularly as the trend of employers moving their workers to private exchanges continues to grow. When insurers operate their own private exchanges, they can potentially generate new revenue, recruit new members, boost consumer loyalty and improve member satisfaction, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Those factors helped drive Aetna to purchase private exchange company Bswift earlier this month, as the insurer looks to expand its client base and build "the next generation of our private exchange offerings."

To learn more:
- read the MiBiz article

Related Articles:
Brokers see increased shift of employees to private exchanges
How Aetna's acquisition of Bswift affects all insurers' business
3 keys to developing private exchanges
Kaiser Family Foundation: Private exchanges could reshape the health insurance industry