The components of the Private Benefit Exchange Index inched up just a bit this month. However, the editors have seen tremendous grow over the past 12 months. Since its launch in June 2015, the number of employers using exchanges has increased 142%, the number of employees enrolling in benefit through the marketplaces has risen 108% and the number of lives covered by the plans sold on the platforms has jumped 121%.

And it looks like things will remain active.

A recent blog on the Array Health website noted that benefit professionals should be looking at four key trends. Array, which offers a marketplace product, offered the following:

  • “Interest in private exchanges, both as online enrollment solutions and full-fledged health insurance ecommerce platforms, is growing.” The posting noted that after a pretty slow start last year things are picking up, with much of the growth now coming from insurers “looking to support broader e-commerce efforts for groups and individual business.”
  • “Provider Sponsored Plans are beginning to use private exchanges to expand their market presence.” Hospitals offering PSPs are looking to the web as their go-to-market strategy, according to the blog.
  • Private exchanges are becoming central to health insurers’ consumer engagement strategies.” It doesn’t come as a surprise that insurers are looking to use benefit marketplaces to communicate more regularly with their increasingly digital-savvy customer base.
  • “Ecommerce models are on the rise.” People do just about everything online, which, says the blog, “represents an enormous opportunity for health insurers to engage with their members in new ways and to generate new revenue streams from affiliate relationships.”

All these trends point to increasing activity for the exchanges.

Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser will continue to track these trends and, of course, the month-over-month growth in the online benefits marketplaces.

To create 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 an 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.

For more information on the PBE Index, to access a directory of private benefit exchange operators, and to see the latest PBE news, go to http://www.benefitnews.com/exchanges.

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