Insurance Broker Blog

Guest Blogger David Albertson: Brokers Can Play Key Role in Exchanges

Editorial note: Solstice is thrilled to have David Albertson, Editorial Director of Employee Benefit Adviser and Employee Benefit News, as a guest blogger. Check out his piece on the role brokers can play in health care exchanges, as the Oct. 1 launch date approaches.

Brokers Can Play a Key Role in Exchanges, Oct. 1 and Beyond

By David Albertson

Since its passage into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has cast a shadow over the incomes and livelihood of brokers serving the group benefit market. But for those willing to look at the opportunities inside the market disruption, the future remains bright indeed.

Much attention has centered on the Oct. 1 opening of public health insurance marketplaces under ACA. And while clearly a landmark event, the launch of public exchanges already pales by comparison to inroads being made by private exchanges. In fact, it’s fair to say that the ACA has unleashed private-sector forces and pent-up demand for an expansion of defined contribution benefits.

From this week’s news: Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, announced it will move its workers into a private health insurance exchange to buy company-subsidized coverage. Walgreen’s decision affects about 160,000 current employees and follows similar action this year by Sears Holdings Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc., which have emerged as early adopters of exchanges contributing to increasing competition among private exchange sponsors amassing employee participants.

Meantime, other large employers, including IBM, GE and Time Warner, said they will move their retirees into private exchanges.

A growing number of these private exchange platforms are already being positioned to address defined contribution funding models desired by many employers. These platforms will, increasingly, also provide a marketplace where workers will take employer contributions and shop for high-value supplemental benefits such as dental and vision care.

The opportunities presented by the evolution of purchasing exchanges will be brightest for benefit brokers who choose to light a candle for the path ahead rather than cursing the darkness.
David Albertson is Editorial Director of the SourceMedia publications Employee Benefit Adviser and Employee Benefit News. Follow him on Twitter at @Albertson_EBN.

You can visit Employee Benefit Adviser at and Employee Benefit News at

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