The Private Benefit Exchange Index rose more last month than it has in any of the three previous months Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser have been tracking the growth of the online marketplaces.

And the market continues to see big companies move employees and retirees to private exchanges. In early September, Kraft Heinz said it would move some of its retirees to a private exchange operated by Towers Watson to cut health care costs.

Since June – the first posting of the Private Benefit Exchange Index -- the eight operators participating in the PBE Index’s data collection effort report that more than 771 employers have moved workers to their exchanges. This, in turn, has led to an increase of 120,157 employees and 292,728 more lives now being covered by benefit plans sold through the sites.

And the Index increases last month were substantial, with the month-over-month gains in employers moving to private exchanges up 2.5%, the number of individuals signing up for plans rising 3.3% and the number of lives covered growing an impressive 7%.

Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser’s Private Benefit Exchange Index tracks the growth of the online benefit marketplaces.

To compile the PBE Index, EBA and EBN collect data from eight leading exchange operators on the number of employers using each platform, the number of employees enrolled in benefits through each platform and the number of lives covered by the policies sold through each platform.  Every month, the editors aggregate and update the operators’ numbers.

The eight exchanges selected by the editors to participate in the PBE Index are a representative cross-section of the operator market and include benefitsCONNECT, bswift, Hanna, Lockton, Medica, Simple Insurance, Softheon and Solstice. The information provided by these brokers, insurers and technology-platform companies is self-reported and rounded.

The PBE Index is complemented by a series of related products, including a directory of private benefit exchange operators. In addition, the editors of EBA and EBN are regularly posting news, analysis and trends on the exchange market. (Go to http://ebn.benefitnews.com/pbe-marketplace to see more.)

The PBE Index is the first attempt to regularly track the growth of private exchanges and the editors expect the numbers to generate a fair amount of discussion. Feedback is welcome.

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