Friday, March 30, 2012

Mercer’s Exchange Suite Helps Employers Develop Sound Health Care Strategy in the Midst of Reform Law’s Uncertainty

Even as the US Supreme Court contemplates arguments heard earlier this week on the federal health care reform law, employers are moving ahead with strategies to more effectively manage their health care spending. Mercer, a global leader in human resource consulting and related services, has developed a wide range of exchange-type offerings that are designed to help organizations of all sizes manage their employee and retiree health plans in order to reduce costs, manage risk and provide employees with quality, choice and simplicity.

“Mercer is offering a wide variety of exchange solutions aimed at helping employers ensure they are in compliance with the US health care reform law while continuing to provide benefits that are affordable and attractive,” said Sharon Cunninghis, US leader of Mercer’s health and benefits business. “Mercer’s suite of solutions will help employers of all sizes and funding arrangements that wish to offer employees greater choice in the benefits they receive, while providing coverage in a cost-effective way.”

Mercer’s Exchange Suite includes:

Mercer Health Advantage(SM) -- Mercer Health Advantage (MHA) allows self-funded employers with 3,000+ employees to enroll their employees in new medical plans starting January 1, 2013. These programs are designed to save employers 5% or more of medical plan cost with the same plan design they have in place today. The savings come from select networks with providers chosen for their quality and cost effectiveness. Employers also gain access to dedicated MHA clinical care management with ongoing oversight and audit by a team of Mercer clinicians. Mercer plans to offer MHA to smaller self-funded employers in 2014.

Mercer Benefits Choice Exchange -- Mercer is expanding its private exchange, Mercer Benefits Choice Exchange (MBCE), which it has piloted in the Midwest. Powered by an elegant decision-making support tool, MBCE is designed to help organizations with 100--1,000 employees offer workers more options with less administrative responsibility. MBCE lets employers contribute a set amount to a Health Reimbursement Account; employees then select the coverage that is best for them using an online decision support and enrollment tool.

Private exchanges provide employers of all sizes with an opportunity to continue offering coverage -- with more choice for employees and less cost for the company. Mercer’s pilot program will be expanded into new locations this year and next.

Retiree Medical Exchanges -- There is a significant shift taking place in the retiree health benefit market corresponding to the growing employer demand for solutions targeted at current and future retirees. To meet this demand, Mercer has entered into arrangements with several leading vendors to leverage any employer subsidy available for retiree coverage (typically Medicare-eligible retirees, initially) by converting to a defined contribution model that lets retirees purchase the individual coverage that best meets their needs. Join Mercer’s April 18 webcast to learn more about retiree medical exchanges; registration information will appear shortly on the webcasts page,

More information about Mercer’s suite of exchange solutions is available from Mercer consultants, as well as from Mercer’s web site:

About Mercer

Mercer is a global leader in human resource consulting and related services. The firm works with clients to solve their most complex human capital issues by designing and helping manage health, retirement and other benefits. Mercer’s 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global team of professional services companies offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. With 52,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $10 billion, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a global leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a global leader in management consulting. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on Twitter @MercerInsights.

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