Private Health Insurance Exchanges Offer Choice

October 25, 2013 ( – Rising costs and new regulations are leading employers to rethink their health benefits offerings.
For Addison Group in Chicago, a staff placement agency with 2,100 employees, the impetus to change was employees’ request for more choice. Patrick Jones, chief financial officer for Addison Group, said the firm has offered employees two preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, one in-network and one out-of-network. “The out-of-network PPO just didn’t make sense financially for folks,” he told PLANSPONSOR. “And employees wanted more options.”

Jones said the firm shopped with different carriers and received different quotes, and saw that with Mercer Marketplace it could get more choices at less cost. “As a CFO, I like that it will drive consumerism among employees, but they will also get more choices based on their lifecycle,” he added. Jones noted that Addison’s average employee is 27 years old and single; for them a high-deductible plan makes more sense. He said he felt many of these employees were over-insured in the past. But, Mercer Marketplace also offers plans appropriate for families with children.

“We felt Mercer Marketplace will be easily adaptable for employees, and administratively, it will free up staff that used to handle claims to focus on other strategic things. It eases administration,” Jones added. Open enrollment for Addison employees will be in the second week of November.

According to Jones, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) did not affect the decision to join Mercer Marketplace; Addison’s plans were already compliant. “For us the decision was to give employees more choice, and consumerism will mean they make choices right for them,” he concluded.