Will some benefits products sell much better through private exchanges than they have through traditional distribution channels?
Analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation consider that possibility today in a report on the private exchange movement. The analysts note that private exchanges serve only about 2.5 million people today, and only 1.7 million group plan enrollees. But they say that Oliver Wyman has predicted that private exchanges could serve employer plans with 39 million enrollees by 2018, and that Accenture thinks private exchanges could handle 40 million employer plan lives.
The Kaiser analysts say the use of private exchanges could have some surprising effects, such as harnessing the power of consumer inertia to reduce the likelihood that enrollees will change plans.
The analysts also talk about some of the products and services that could do well in a private exchange benefits market.
Here are three of the possible private exchange universe winners.
1. Programs that combine high-deductible health insurance with health savings accounts (HSA) or other types of personal health accounts.
- The Kaiser analysts found that private exchange users care more about minimizing monthly premiums than minimizing out-of-pocket costs.
- About 40 percent to 60 percent choose HSA-eligible plans.
- Outside of exchange programs, only about 20 percent of enrollees have HSA-eligible coverage, the analysts say.
See also: HSAs reach nearly $23 billion
2. “Ancillary benefits,” such as dental insurance, vision insurance, critical illness insurance and accident policies.