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Aon Hewitt private exchange growing

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Aon Hewitt may have a hit on its hands with its private insurance exchange.

The company, which launched its exchange just this year, reports that 18 employers have signed up to purchase coverage for workers.

The private exchanges are the private-sector response to the mandated public insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The public exchanges will start reviewing requests for coverage Oct. 1, if all goes as planned in the next 10 days. Private exchanges were free to open up any time, and Aon Hewitt went live this year.

It fairly quickly attracted three clients — its own parent company, Sears Holding Corp. and Fla.-based restaurant chain Darden Restaurants.

By next year, 15 more have said they will use the Aon Hewitt exchange to find coverage for employees.

Walgreens is the biggie in the bunch, but Aon Hewitt said all of the new clients have at least 5,000 employees and represent a range of industries.

With the additional clients, Aon Hewitt said 330,000 employees will be receiving coverage through its exchange. “In total, Aon Hewitt anticipates more than 600,000 U.S. employees and their families will be covered under plans in the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange in 2014,” the company said in a news release.

The exchange’s clients can choose from health plans offered by some 20 insurers. Among them: Aetna, Health Care Service Corp., Delta Dental, Health Net Inc., Kaiser Permanente, MetLife, Independence Blue Cross and UnitedHealthcare.

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