Richard Mann says he thinks private exchange companies really are coming, and coming in a big way.
“Exchanges are here now, and they’re growing,” Mann said in an interview.
Mann is an executive vice president at PlanSource, one of the benefits administration system companies behind the private exchange movement.
Some benefits market watchers, and players, have suggested that successful private exchange programs could destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange programs, by attracting the younger, healthier, cheaper-to-insurance customers.
When Linda Blumberg and Shanna Rifkin looked at the PPACA exchanges’ small-group divisions for the Urban Institute, they found that one of the future terrors haunting exchange managers is the possibility that successful private exchanges could threaten the public exchanges’ viability.
Other benefits market watchers have questioned how many of the private exchanges now in operation really deserve to be called private exchanges, and how big the private exchange market is likely to get. When the National Business Group on Health released the results of a survey of large employers earlier this month, it found that only 3 percent of the participants expect to be providing health benefits for active employees through private exchanges in 2015.
Will private exchanges be the public exchange managers’ worst nightmare, or just a little gas?
Mann said he agrees that the percentage of employers using private exchanges now is low. The percentage will be bigger — but still small — next year, he said. But he said large amounts of private exchange capacity will be coming online soon.