Employers Exploring Corporate Health Exchange Model

March 7, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Since the passage of the health reform law two years ago, organizations are exploring alternate healthcare models, such as Corporate Exchanges, to deliver high-quality, cost-effective healthcare plans to their employees.

Aon Hewitt recently surveyed 562 employers nationwide and found that 94% are committed to offering and financially supporting health benefit coverage for their workforce in some form going forward.  Of those surveyed, 72% are very or somewhat interested in exploring if a corporate exchange model can be an effective long-term solution for managing the cost of an employee health plan.  

Forty-four percent of employers believe they will provide employees health benefits through a corporate exchange in the next three-to-five years, up from the current mark of 4%. Employers rank the ability to reduce costs (86%), improve access to quality plans (45%), enhance health and wellness programs (43%) and increase healthcare choices (43%) as the most important features when considering a corporate exchange.   

In addition, the Aon Hewitt survey revealed 75% of employers that could reduce healthcare costs by moving to a corporate exchange would use a portion of the savings to lower labor costs. Sixty-four percent of organizations indicated they would use the savings to invest in expanding health and wellness programs, and 62% said they would re-direct these funds to other non-healthcare related initiatives.    

“Every employer, whether they participate in exchanges or not, has a vested interest in the health and performance of their employees,” said John Zern, U.S. Health & Benefits Practice director with Aon Hewitt. “Investing in wellness and health improvement will continue to be a priority with employers regardless of their delivery model. That said, exchanges may enable employers to reduce the staff time focused on benefit plan design, increasing attention on efforts that improve health and lead to increased workforce performance.”   

More than 560 employers responded to the survey, representing a broad spectrum of industries, including retail, higher education, banking, finance and energy. To learn more or to download a copy of the survey report, visit http://www.aon.com/healthcareexchange.