Mercer is getting traction on its private exchange.

The consulting firm, which offers employers access to its private health insurance exchange, reported a 43 percent growth year over year in "expected total lives" covered by its exchange products. It now boasts 300-plus employer members and 703,000 eligible employees.

The private exchange market has experienced slow but steady growth over the last few years, as employers seek options that will reduce administrative and insurance costs. The Society for Human Resource Management published an extensive overview of the industry in June that concluded employers were continuing to examine the exchange option but were slow to shift employees there. Consulting firms, including Mercer, Towers Watson, Buck Consultants and Aon Hewitt, are the primary providers.

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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.