Private exchanges are a complex tool in a complex market, but they continue to evolve as employers switch to them, and brokers learn to work with them. Panelists at the opening keynote for Employee Benefit Adviser’s Workplace Benefits Mania on Tuesday agreed that private exchanges are ever-changing. “Every hard-and-fast rule that we saw four years ago is gone. You no longer have to be in defined contribution, you no longer have to be fully insured,” said Carol Harnett, a benefits consultant and panel moderator at the Las Vegas conference. “If there is something you don’t like about private exchanges, it will change.”
Private exchanges, explained Alan Cohen, co-founder and chief strategy officer at private exchange operator Liazon, change the way employee benefits have historically been offered. Now the employee makes the decisions about their health care — a choice Cohen calls as personal as the car they drive and house they live in. “The reality is that companies making the choice [for their employees] creates a lot of inefficiencies and high costs,” he explained.
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