2013-01-15 06:04:18 -
/EINPresswire.com/ Following the announcement last week by another global consulting firm’s entry into the private health exchange market, @ywnh reasserts their focus on the small business market, with the launch of the Private Health Exchanges Network ( privatehealthexchanges.net).
The Private Health Exchange Network completes the service model offered by @ywnh. Small business owners can take advantage of all three unique services --the Alternative Healthcare Strategy, a DIY Consulting Model and a small business exchange portal, using the Private Health Exchanges Network. Now @ywnh offers small business owners everything their larger competitors have in benefit consulting.
"Small business owners should have the same tools for benefit services available to their employees as the employees in larger firms," stated Mr. Gifford, founder of @ywnh.
As an early adopter of the flexible benefit plan, back in the mid 1980’s, Mr. Gifford learned that information technology and benefit plan design were interdependent systems. Technology pushes the process at times, and sometimes the regulations and/or the market pushes the technology. Today’s web technology is responding to the regulatory and market changes created by healthcare reform. Many states across the country are developing health exchange portals to service their citizens as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Private system developers are also responding to the demand for new system to support the rapidly changing insurance marketplace. The latest cloud technologies do not require the large amounts of IT resources as in the past. Smaller, more flexible tools can meet niche market demands as effectively as other larger systems. "We know we are in the right place to catch the coming wave," said Mr. Gifford. "...when we read that all the major names are investing in this trend.”
This trend is supported by the Mercer, LLC announcement to serve the larger employers (those with at least 100 employees) as the latest entry into the private health exchange market. They will be joining other global consulting firms --AON Hewitt and Towers Watson, who have already entered in this market. These leading benefit service providers are also joined by large insurance brokers, such as Arthur J. Gallagher & Company’s, whose partnership with Liazon Corporation and their private exchange service was announced in July 2012.
The private health exchange market appears to be gearing up as “the next big thing” in employer benefit servicing. “You don’t see investments, in the millions by large companies, unless they expect a return on that investment.” As Mercer reports, slightly over half (or 56%) of employers are considering a private exchange for their employees. @ywnh, this signals a fundamental change from the group health plans to a new defined contribution health plan (or “DCHP” design).
What is Private Health Exchange?
Unlike the benefit enrollment systems that supported the open enrollment process required under a Flexible Benefit (cafeteria style) Plan under section 125, the private exchange links the employee with available health insurance or other benefit products using an internet portal (or a website). Members can log on, get plan information, educational materials and direct access to insurance products. This tool provides the necessary process support for engaging employees covered under a DCHP. These portals link employees to available private or public online markets. They typically provide a larger selection of benefit products than ever before seen by employees. In contrast, the typical Flexible Benefit Plan enrollment system might have offered 3 medical options, life insurance, disability and dental plan. The new exchanges may link to hundreds of products.
More choice requires more support. A key differentiator will likely be the levels of member support provided by the service system. With support comes the associated cost.
So where does this leave the small business employer who has less than 100 employees?
The small business should take notice of the trend being set by these large consulting firms. The message is clear, private exchange portals are here, and will soon be the new standard. What every small business leader needs to know is they have an option, designed for their market. The Private Health Exchange Network, site-as-a-service, was established to serve the small business owner with a portal set up to match the unique needs of the small business market. Even if you have only 3 employees, you can have the same plan design as much larger companies.
In fact, some believe the smaller employers (defined as “less than 50 full-time-equivalents”) will actually be converting at a faster rate from their group health insurance plan to a DCHP, with a private exchange helping to service the way, than the larger employers.
The Affordable Care Act creates an strong incentive for smaller employers to switch to the DCHP. Beginning in 2014, small business employees across the country will be eligible for guaranteed health insurance accessible through a public health exchange. Many will be eligible for subsidized premiums for this health insurance purchase. This conversion is assisted by the private health exchange. That assistance can vary in form, process and funding, based on the individual employer and their employee needs.
The Private Health Exchange Network uses low-cost internet technology solutions to support the small business employee, while selecting from a large number of health insurance options and other benefit products available on the market.
F D Gifford
Press Release courtesy of Online PR Media: bit.ly/W1c2FK