With the rollout of the first federal and state health insurance exchanges, the transformation of the U.S. health care system got officially underway. Another transformation is starting now and will follow fast on its heels: The shift of all employee benefits from defined benefit to defined contribution.

This transition mirrors the decades-long migration of employers from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution, employee-controlled, 401(k)s. Unlike that transition, which took place before we had the Internet, this transition will be powered by advanced Web technology and will likely accelerate, fully unfolding over the next two to three years. The vehicle for this transformation will be private benefit exchanges set up by insurance carriers and brokers and employer groups.

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