The number of people who enrolled in private health insurance exchanges – an online marketplace for people to choose their employer-sponsored benefits – for 2016 increased 35 percent from last year, to approximately 8 million, up from [approximately] 6 million in 2015.
“As administering health benefits becomes increasingly costly and complex, employers will explore new models to reduce cost and meet consumer demand for greater choice and more robust digital experiences,” said Rich Birhanzel, managing director of Accenture’s Health Administration Services. “The extent to which private exchanges succeed at differentiating themselves and proving their value over traditional benefits delivery plans will ultimately determine their future growth.”
Accenture’s research indicates that the growth of private health insurance exchanges continues to be fueled by midsize companies with 100 to 2,500 employees. The rate of adoption among large employers did grow slightly in 2015, but many have been on the fence in determining whether to adopt private health insurance exchanges.
“Private health insurance exchanges have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the market and regulatory forces that are compelling employers to change their approach to benefits,” Birhanzel said. “If current vendors can deliver on the key elements of a private exchange, they can capture share in a market that will continue to grow. If they cannot deliver meaningful differentiation, legacy providers will evolve to meet the market and regulatory needs that are driving the demand for private exchanges.”
For the fourth consecutive year, Accenture conducted an analysis of U.S. enrollment in private health insurance exchanges, focusing on individuals and dependents under the age of 65 who receive group health insurance through an employer. 2015 enrollment was calculated by assessing enrollment activity in private health insurance exchanges through December 31, 2015.