As benefits managers race to prepare for PPACA, one of the bigger hurdles ahead is making sure employees understand the choices they will have.

That conclusion can be found in a new Accenture Consulting survey designed to predict how many Americans will receive health care coverage via a health insurance exchange by 2017. Based on the study, that number is 18 percent — about 30 million people.

The survey found private insurers are barreling ahead to create exchanges of their own, which they are already marketing to employers. And employers like the idea. But employees remain largely unfamiliar with how exchanges work, particularly private ones. And those who are aware are wary lest they turn out to be just one way "that firms are … looking to shift costs to employees."

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.