Employers flock to Mercer’s exchange

Mercer’s private exchange landed 52 employers for the 2014 plan year, the company announced Tuesday.

Thirty-three employers will offer Mercer Marketplace for active employees and an additional 19 organizations will provide the firm’s retiree solutions exchange.

Mercer expects its exchanges will cover 200,000 employees, retirees and family members next year. The employers — which include Petco, Kinder Morgan and DineEquity, parent of the IHOP and Applebee’s restaurant chains — range in size from 100 to 30,000 employees and represent more than 15 industries.

Mercer also said it is in “active discussions” with more potential exchange customers.

The announcement is the latest indicator of swift and large growth by consulting players in the private exchange market. Exchanges run by Aon Hewitt and Towers Watson, in addition to Mercer, have been booming this year.

Walgreen last month announced it will send up to 160,000 employees into a private health exchange run by Aon Hewitt — which signed up 18 employers this year.

Eric Grossman, exchange business leader for Mercer’s health and benefits business, said they’re “distinguishing itself as a versatile partner for a broad range of employers who want to continue providing coverage to employees and retirees in a fiscally responsible way,” as PPACA takes effect.

“We are finding particular interest among mid-sized employers, who can achieve results through Mercer Marketplace that previously would have been out of reach,” he said.

Employers — and its employees — will have a variety of benefits to choose from in the exchange, including medical, dental, life, disability and other voluntary products.

A Mercer spokesperson said 28 carriers are now part of its exchange.

Mercer announced its launch of Mercer Marketplace, a private benefits exchange designed to help employers and employees by offering them a one-stop-shop for their benefits from multiple insurance providers, in January.

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