January 11, 2013

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Article

Mercer Introduces a Private Benefits Exchange for Active Employees

Press Release

January 11, 2013

Mercer, a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments, announced the launch of Mercer MarketplaceSM, a private benefits exchange designed to help employers more effectively manage their benefit costs while providing employees and their dependents with superior choice, flexibility and service. This is an important addition to the suite of solutions that Mercer provides clients.

“The convergence of a number of critical factors – the unsustainable rise in benefit costs, healthcare reform, ‘consumer-driven’ solutions, and improving technology – is transforming the provision of employee benefits,” said Julio A. Portalatin, president and CEO of Mercer. “Mercer Marketplace provides our clients with a market-leading platform and service to support their employees in this transformation.”

Mercer’s new benefits exchange will provide employers with an opportunity to continue offering competitive benefits to their employees, which is an important attraction and retention tool, while actively managing spending and reducing their administrative responsibilities. Employees will have access to a broader array of benefits, as well as the ability to tailor those benefits to their particular needs, with the necessary support to make appropriate decisions.

Employers of all sizes that use the Mercer Marketplace will have the flexibility to determine how much to contribute toward the cost of their benefits program and can select from a wide range of insured and self-funded products to offer to their workforce. They can thus design a competitive benefits program while understanding and controlling the costs associated with a wide range of options. The platform includes full benefits outsourcing and will support employees with call center and online decision support during the enrollment process and beyond.

Mercer Marketplace will allow employers and employees access to a broad array of benefits – both traditional and voluntary – from multiple insurance providers, along with education tools and support to help employees customize their choices to better fit their needs. This private exchange will be available to employers with at least 100 employees.

“Mercer research indicates that 56 percent of employers are considering a private exchange to provide benefits to their active employees or retirees,” said David Rahill, president, Health & Benefits at Mercer. “What distinguishes Mercer Marketplace is the breadth of our benefit offerings, a scalable platform able to serve companies both large and small, and our extensive ‘direct-to-consumer’ experience. Helping employees make informed decisions is a critical component of this model.”

Mercer Marketplace utilizes a technology platform developed by Benefitfocus that is customized for Mercer clients. This cloud-based technology helps employers streamline the administration of their benefits plans. "Mercer has designed a powerful private exchange through which employers can offer employees a full set of benefits,” said Shawn Jenkins, president and CEO of Benefitfocus. “Mercer has combined it with our benefit administration platform to simultaneously reduce administrative costs and increase employee choice. We believe this will be well received and very competitive.”

The Mercer Marketplace private exchange joins the other Mercer solutions that make up the Mercer Exchange Suite, which includes a Medicare exchange, voluntary benefits and collective offerings including Mercer Health AdvantageSM.

For more information, visit http://www.mercer.us/articles/mercer-exchange-suite.

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