Businessolver Blog

Exchange or Not Exchange? That is the Question. Offering Benefits to the Alternative Workforce

Exchange or Not Exchange? That is the Question. Offering Benefits to the Alternative Workforce
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Sherri Bockhorst

Have you heard of the alternative workforce? My guess is, yes.


With today’s highly competitive hiring market, many organizations are leveraging this vital segment of the workforce.

According to the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital trends survey, the alternative workforce—as defined by contractors, freelance and independent workers, gig and crowd workers—is alternative no more. It’s now mainstream. In fact, 1 in 5 jobs is held by a contractor and as of late 2018, it was estimated that 57 million workers in the U.S. are part of the gig economy.

Yet, very few organizations have established processes to manage and develop these workers. In the Deloitte survey, 90% of respondents said they use “alternative” workers, but only 25% said they have a process in place for sourcing and managing them.

As the workforce continues to evolve, organizations need to get creative and be flexible in adapting to what these now-mainstream workers actually need and want. By providing a reason to stick around, employers can fill hiring and resource gaps with loyal, engaged alternative workers.

The fact is, alternative workers can be vital to the success of an organization but most often are not offered something that people value more highly than salary when taking a job offer: Benefits.

If you can provide a pathway to easily, seamlessly and affordably obtain those benefits (even if you’re not contributing to them financially) it can enhance your ability to recruit workers and keep them around, beyond a paycheck.

Businessolver’s MyChoiceSM Market is a solution that enables employers to support workers not eligible for their employer-sponsored benefit plans.

As I’ve been talking with clients about MyChoice Market, the number-one question I get is, “Is it an exchange?”  

Benefits pros are familiar with exchanges, so I’ll address the question by first defining the two primary exchanges available in the market today for non-Medicare populations:

  • Public exchanges. These are government-run and were established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide health insurance options for individuals. The public ACA exchange, or public marketplace, is the only place an individual can purchase a major medical plan using the subsidy or tax credit available through the ACA.
  • Private exchanges, on the other hand, are a benefit delivery mechanism for employers that offer group plans. Employers are still the buyer, and employees enter the private exchange when enrolling in group benefits offered through their employer.

Now that we have generally defined these two types of exchanges, we can go back to the original question…is MyChoice Market an exchange? The answer is no. Think of it as a benefits boutique with a professionally curated suite of offerings for end-users to choose from.

Let’s break down the three key differences:

  • Common enrollment platform. MyChoice Market is built on the same benefits administration platform that supports traditional benefits-eligible populations. This creates a common experience for all workers and ensures ease of transition as workers move in or out of benefits eligibility status. It also provides the employer the opportunity to “brand” benefits for all workers.
  • Curated suite of benefits. MyChoice Market offers a variety of benefit plans in the areas of health, security and savings. This prevents people ineligible for employer-sponsored benefits from having to sift through and try and make sense of a sea of coverage from high-cost retail options offered by disparate providers. It makes the experience of the benefits-ineligible worker similar to the experience of those with group coverage.
  • Holistic support. MyChoice Market supports the worker with comprehensive benefits education, selection guidance, enrollment and premium payment consolidation. This degree of support is common for employer-sponsored benefits plans but represents an enhancement and value-add for workers buying individual coverage.

The opportunity to embrace the alternative workforce and increase their engagement, productivity and retention by offering them benefits is here. Some companies are already hopping on board this benefits bandwagon. There is no one size-fits-all when it comes to benefits offerings, just like there’s not one solution for all organizations to universally adopt. Thinking about your workforce population and evaluating their needs and wants will be crucial to implementing a strategy that works for you.

To learn more about MyChoice Market, check out our page below.