Fidelity private exchange expands to California

Now some California workers can not only manage their retirement benefits through Fidelity Investments; they can manage their health insurance, too.

The financial services firm, who earlier this year launched its own private exchange, said Wednesday that it is expanding its Fidelity Health Marketplace to California. The exchange currently operates in New York and Massachusetts.

See also: Companies move toward self-insurance as healthcare rates increase

“California is home to startups and established small companies of all kinds that could benefit from a technology-driven solution to expand choice, improve decision-making and ease the administrative burden of managing benefits,” says Joe Laurin, president of Fidelity Health Marketplace. “Our marketplace lowers the costs of offering benefits and makes accessing benefits easier for employees— not just during annual enrollment, but throughout the year as they access and manage their health, financial and wellness benefits more holistically.”

See also: Behind Fidelity’s move into private exchanges

Fidelity launched the marketplace nine months ago to help small- and medium-sized businesses offer one-stop access to health and wellness benefits. Employers and employees have access to an extensive network of national and regional medical, dental, vision, life and disability benefits, in addition to tax-savings options. They also can access wellness tools and programs through an integrated retirement benefits and payroll platform.

“It is carrier-independent, meaning we can bring an unbiased solution that’s best for the client and employee situations,” Laurin says.

Participating carriers within Fidelity’s marketplace include Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross, among a few others. There is no cost for employers or employees to use the marketplace, a benefit particularly important to small businesses that might not have the budget for comprehensive health insurance.

See also: Small employers dropping health benefits

The Affordable Care Act does not mandate that businesses with 50 employees or fewer offer health insurance, yet nearly 60% of employers are concerned about how competitive their benefits are versus other employers, according to a recent Fidelity survey.

Meanwhile, the vast majority (80%) of employees polled by Fidelity reported that a competitive healthcare benefits package is important to them.

“The war for talent is very real for large and small businesses everywhere, and the ability to offer a competitive benefits package is still a key factor in attracting and retaining talent,” Laurin says. “We offer employers access to the health plans that best fit their employee base. This allows employers to offer greater choice. And to manage this choice, employees get a decision-support tool to help them select the benefits that work for them.”

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