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Mercer private exchange reports strong uptick

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Mercer says it’s getting traction on its private exchange.

The consulting firm, which offers employers access to its private health insurance exchange, reported 43 percent growth year-over-year in “expected total lives” covered by its exchange products. It now boasts 300-plus employer members and 703,000 eligible employees.

The private exchange market has experienced slow but steady growth over the last few years, as employers seek options that will reduce administrative and insurance costs. The Society for Human Resource Management published an extensive overview of the industry in June that concluded employers were continuing to examine the exchange option but were slow to shift employees there. Consulting firms, including Mercer, Towers Watson, Buck Consultants and Aon Hewitt, are the primary providers.

Mercer reported that 222 companies have selected its exchange for active employees, and 84 for their retirees. The “total lives” figure, which includes dependents, is now about 1.5 million.

Private exchanges may be poised for success, but they’re taking a while to get there.

Mercer said its metrics are convincing more employers to make the move to its exchange. It said it can save employers up to 15 percent in total plan costs in the first year, and it can keep the lid on cost increases, holding that to an average of 1.5 percent in the second year.

See also: Kraft Heinz pushes retirees to a private health exchange to cut costs

“In addition, the user-experience for Mercer Marketplace participants and their dependents remains high, with a customer satisfaction rate of 96 percent for those who call its state-of-the-art center,” Mercer said in a release. “This high satisfaction builds upon the 94 percent rate achieved in 2014.”

See also: Private exchange tech firm raises $70 million

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