Employees accustomed to choosing from among two or three health-insurance plans are beginning to see a much broader menu of choices – and some benefit experts predict that trend will continue and grow in the next few years. Increasingly, health-benefit choices entail much more than different premiums, co-payments and provider networks. Some workers are being given more than 10 options and weighing whether they want more of their benefits in the form of life or disability insurance.
In addition, consumers have more information readily available about healthcare providers, which also is expanding their options for choosing doctors. That growing role of consumer choice in healthcare was the focus of a recent New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute conference in Ewing.
A key component in increased choice is the growth of private health insurance exchanges, which are similar to the new federal insurance marketplace, or exchange. In the private exchanges, the employer contracts with an insurer, broker or consultant that offers a series of insurance options from one or more insurance carriers .
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