There’s no doubt you haven’t been hearing the benefits industry’s favorite new buzzword this season: exchanges. With all the media and hype around exchanges as a new solution to deliver benefits and manage costs, it might be easy to assume that your next step as a benefits professional should be to turn to an exchange as it seems like that’s where the market is headed. However, it’s important to remember that there are two sides to every story, and the exchange model is no different.
While the media has generally been pro-exchange, several articles have been surfacing benefits publications this week cautioning employers to re-evaluate the exhcange model. EBN posted an article yesterday titled “Why brokers and employers shouldn’t rush into private exchange decisions” that warned that despite pressure from clients to provide an immediate solution for rising healthcare costs, brokers and employers need to proceed slowly and cautiously when considering solutions such as private exchanges, and to avoid masquerading cost shifting as cost savings. As far as the numbers go, it looks like majority of employers are already proceeding with caution. According to the SHRM/EBRI 2014 Health Benefits Survey, which interviewed over 3,300 plan sponsors, only 3.2% are planning to move to a private exchange for 2015.
With all the conflicting headlines, it’s hard to determine fact from fiction when it comes to exchange buzz. We want to help you demystify the exchange buzz and help you determine if an exchange really is the right fit for you, your company, and your employees.