Key value of private exchange is choice, employers and employees say

Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of U.S. employers believe that a key value of private health insurance exchanges is offering employees more choice, according to research from Willis Towers Watson. Post-enrollment surveys of employees for the plan year 2016 using private exchanges to select employer-sponsored health plans show that employees like to choose for themselves and are happy with the choices they have made. And, one in six employers are considering or have already adopted a private exchange for their full-time employees and their families.

The Willis Towers Watson 2016 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey found the following:

• 95 percent of employees like choosing their own benefits;
• 90 percent were satisfied with their benefit choices one year later;
• Nine of 10 understand their benefits as well or better than last year;
• 83 percent are more aware of the costs of medical care; and
• 83 percent are more engaged in their health care decisions.

“A growing number of employers are interested in offering employees a more satisfying benefit experience through expanded choice, a more consumer-like shopping experience and the chance to build personalized benefit portfolios that better meet their unique needs,” said Sherri Bockhorst, managing director, Group Exchange, Willis Towers Watson. “When choice is backed by advanced decision support and recommendations, exchanges help employees navigate complex options and make good decisions based on their needs. As a result, employees better understand their benefits and are able to derive more value from them.”

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