Aetna announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire private health insurance exchange operator bswift for $400 million.
Bswift, a Chicago-based benefits administration provider, launched its Springboard Marketplace private health care exchange in February 2014. “From the very beginning, our goal has been to use technology and information to simplify the administration of health care benefits, reduce costs and empower consumers, and the development of Springboard Marketplace is an extension of that strategy,” said bswift CEO Rich Gallun at the time.
Aetna will use available resources to purchase bswift, which will operate as a separate business within Aetna under its existing leadership structure. The transaction, which is subject to customary antitrust regulatory approval, is expected to close before the end of 2014.
“Bswift’s consumer-friendly technology for benefits shopping and administration is an excellent fit with our proprietary exchange strategy,” said Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini in a statement. “With more employers giving employees their choice of benefits via private exchanges, bswift’s technology platform will provide Aetna with the capability to deliver a new privateexchange offering for employers of all sizes where the focus is on helping people easily choose a plan that’s right for them and their families.”
Speaking with EBA last week before the news was announced; bswift’s director of exchange solutions Don Garlitz predicted private exchanges will continue to grow. He said they may never
fully replace the traditional benefits market, “but we expect — like most others in the market expect — that private exchanges are not necessarily a fad or a flash in the pan.”
Garlitz explained that consumers value choice and decision support, all attributes he said private exchanges provide.
In a statement, bswift’s Gallun said that his company is “thrilled to become a part of Aetna at such a pivotal time in the transformation of the health care system. Aetna will help expand the reach of our technology and benefits services with a goal of creating a true consumer marketplace for health care.”
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