A year ago, the consultancy Accenture estimated that 1 million individuals would enroll for health coverage through a private exchange in 2014. Last week, in a report that's being widely circulated, they tripled their estimate -- now they say that 3 million individuals are enrolled through an exchange. While some very large employers made the move to private exchanges for 2014, driving up enrollment, the main reason was simply higher-than-expected demand. I'm not surprised they were surprised -- we got a hint of the phenomenal interest in this new model last fall when we tabulated the results of our 2013 survey and found that a quarter of all employers were considering moving to an exchange within just two years, and nearly half were considering moving within five years. The Accenture report confirmed the trend we've seen with the first employers to sign onto Mercer's own private exchange, Mercer Marketplace -- when employees have the choice, they select a lower level of coverage, saving money for themselves and their employer.
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