News From the EBN Private Exchange Conference In Chicago
The conference consisted of 10 general sessions which included topics such as health policy impact, multiple approaches to designing exchanges, communication and compliance. We also heard case studies and client testimonials from existing exchange clients. I sat through every session, toured the expo and visited with key vendors and consultants in the space and thought “all in all” the networking, program and content was pretty good especially for the first show.
As I have found with most conferences you have to sit through a lot of presentations and PowerPoint sides and have a few meaningful conversations and in the end you leave with a couple of golden nuggets of information. Here are a few of mine:
1. Exchange Definition – Lots of strong views on what a private exchange should be especially from the vendors. Common themes were empowering employees with ‘enough” good benefit choice, very strong decision support, enrollment/administration and support.
2. Traction – Exchanges have yet of have made significant strides in the market and are expected to have a moderate 2013. At the same time it is critically important to get out in front of your clients with a strategy and a message before someone else does. This quote from Bill Gates drives home that point.
3. Contracts and Billing – when you place clients onto a broker sponsored private exchange be mindful of the legal and support requirements especially if you are collecting premium and contracting with employers.
4. Standardization is Important – As you build out your private exchange offering it is important to adhere to a standard in plan designs, networks and file feeds to drive efficiency and lower cost.
5. Multiple Strategies will Likely Prevail – With single group health carrier solutions (small/mid market) viability of some individual plans and varying client needs,consultants will have to rely on a few exchange solutions to address the broad needs and cost issues their clients will face.
A prudent private exchange or “Marketplace” strategy can make a meaningful contribution to the growth a of your business and part of the future of how benefits will be delivered. Please feel to call me any time to discuss this in further detail.