The insurance exchanges spawned by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represent a huge opportunity for the IT industry. But the big bump in revenue generation will come from the private exchanges, not the public ones, says a report by MarketsandMarkets.

The research results released by the consulting and data-crunching firm gages the IT piece of insurance exchanges in 2013 at $1.6 billion. That will rise to $2.6 billion by 2018.

While the public exchanges currently represent the lion's share of IT spending, the private markets will catch up and surpass public exchange spending. The private markets, the report notes, were mostly either recently launched in the last year. (Some have been up and running for several years.) But other research has shown intense interest in the private exchanges by companies eager to identify alternatives to defined benefit health coverage for 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.