Based on early experience managing a private health insurance exchange for employees, Aon Hewitt reported Thursday that its employer clients probably saved between 1 and 2 percent on health insurance costs by choosing the private exchange option.

The company based its assertion on a post-enrollment survey of employees and families who get their coverage through the exchange. An independent third party conducted the survey, Aon Hewitt said.

"The average cost increase in fully insured premiums for these companies returning to the private exchange in 2014 was 5.1 percent, including the reinsurance fees levied on all group health plans under the Affordable Care Act," Aon Hewitt said in a news release. "Comparatively … average health care cost increases for large U.S. employers are likely to be approximately 6 percent to 7 percent in 2014, before employers make changes in deductibles and copays."

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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.