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Smart Benefits: Private Exchanges Open Up New Opportunities In RI

Monday, November 11, 2013

 

Last week, United Benefit Advisors, the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization, announced the launch of its Benefits Passport private exchange, which is available in Rhode Island through partner firm, Cornerstone Group.

Unlike Rhode Island’s public exchange, HealthSource RI, which has focused on only small employers through its SHOP model, Benefits Passport will provide large group employers with more than 50 employees coverage starting January 1, 2014.

Available Options

Benefits Passport is based on a defined contribution model, and will include options from BCBSRI and Tufts Health Plan locally, along with UnitedHealthcare at a national level. An open source program, the exchange can support all major insurance carriers as well as any carrier who is able to share a standard data feed. In addition to health insurance, Benefits Passport enables employers to add ancillary products like dental, vision, life disability and even voluntary benefits. Wellness programs and EAPs can also be accommodated.

The Rise of the Private Exchange

Even before the public exchanges opened for business, interest in private exchanges has been growing thanks to early pioneers like Bloom, offered by BCBS of Minnesota, and Bright Choices from Liaizon in other parts of the country. These models have proven beneficial to both employers and employees:

  • Employers. As companies try to rein in costs, the private exchanges allow employers to fix their contribution to a set dollar amount, rather than sponsoring a specific plan design. Plus, there’s the added convenience of consolidating all administrative services with one vendor.
  • Employees. Workers get to choose from a bundle of available plans based on their lifestyle and financial needs. With the ability to compare options, the exchanges allow employees to make more informed decisions according to their health and finances, making them better consumers.

Are Private Exchanges for All Companies?

As their numbers grow, the private exchanges are expected to have widespread appeal. But they may not be for every company. Employees need both to have access to computers and be comfortable using them. So some employers will not be able to take advantage of the technology right away.

A Suite of Support Services

For those companies that opt for the private exchange, full service and support is available to help employers and employees to optimize their experience. Specifically, Benefits Passport offers a full suite of services, including online enrollment, an employer contact center, accounting, payroll deduction reporting and billing.

Amy Gallagher has over 21 years of healthcare industry experience guiding employers and employees. As Vice President at Cornerstone Group, she advises large employers on all aspects of healthcare reform, benefit solutions, cost-containment strategies and results-driven wellness programs. Amy speaks regularly on a variety of healthcare-related topics, and is often quoted by national publications on the subject matter. Locally, Amy is a member of SHRM-RI, the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, and the Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisory Council.

 

Related Slideshow: Check Out The Grades: Rhode Island Hospitals Report Card

A recent survey released by The Leapfrog Group assigns a Hospital Safety Score, using the report card system of A to F to each of the hospitals in Rhode Island. These grades are based on expert analysis of injuries, infections and errors that cause harm or death during a hospital stay.

Let's see how each of Rhode Island's hospitals were graded from highest to lowest:

Prev Next

South County Hospital

Wakefield, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

Prev Next

Kent County Memorial Hospital

Warwick, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: C

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Memorial Hospital of RI

Pawtucket, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded due to lack of publicly available data

Prev Next

Miriam Hospital

Providence, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: B

Prev Next

Newport Hospital

Newport, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: B

Prev Next

Rhode Island Hospital

Providence, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: C

Prev Next

Roger Williams Medical Center

Providence, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: C

Prev Next

St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island

Providence, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: B

Prev Next

Landmark Medical Center

Woonsocket, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded due to lack of publicly available data

Prev Next

Women & Infants Hospital of RI

Providence, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded due to lack of publicly available data

Prev Next

Westerly Hospital

Westerly, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded due to lack of publicly available data

 
 

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