As employers grapple with how best to deliver health insurance to their employees, the concept of private insurance exchange or marketplace is quickly gaining traction. In a private exchange model, rather than continuing to assume the responsibility for making healthcare decisions for plan participants (or managing the risk on their behalf), an employer transfers responsibility to employees. This transfer of power enables employees to make important decisions on behalf of their families. Employers have something to gain, too: predictable healthcare costs.

But there is more involved here than simply choosing a private insurance exchange over a traditional benefits delivery model. This is not a simple switch you flip. In fact, the move to a private exchange could be difficult for employees who generally are not accustomed to making benefits plan decisions for themselves, or who balk at the potential of an increased out-of-pocket burden. It’s incumbent upon employers to guide them through the transition to help them accept the idea that having more power and choice is a good trade-off to taking on more risk. To do this, the employer must introduce a defined contribution approach to the workforce and embrace concepts like premium transparency, fixed dollar contributions and multiple plan options. 

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