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Bswift launches private exchange for health and voluntary benefits

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Bswift Inc., a Chicago-based benefits consulting and information technology services firm, on Tuesday announced the launch of its private health and voluntary benefits exchange, Springboard Marketplace.

Springboard Marketplace offers large and midsize employers a greater degree of control over their group benefits budgets by allowing them to set predetermined contributions toward the cost of their employees' medical and voluntary insurance coverages, as well as an online marketplace through which employees can choose from a range of plan options.

Don Garlitz, executive director for exchange solutions at bswift, said in an interview that the company is in the process of finalizing partnership agreements with several national health insurers, and that he expects medical plan placements to be available for fully insured and self-insured employers in time for midyear policy renewals.

“I think what we have is the perfect blend of the traditional administrative capabilities that you have to have for a large employer to make this kind of benefits program functional, combined with the state-of-the-art consumer shopping experience that a lot of the newer exchanges are incorporating into their models,” Mr. Garlitz said. “That blend of technological capabilities allows us to serve a very broad segment of the market, and we think that's pretty unique in the private exchange marketplace.”

Mr. Garlitz said that while Springboard Marketplace is open to employers with as few as 50 full-time workers, bswift's marketing campaign for the exchange will focus primarily on employers with at least 1,000 employees.

In addition to medical coverage, employers participating in the Springboard Marketplace exchange can also provide their employees access to voluntary benefits such as dental, vision, life, disability and accident insurance, as well as direct care purchasing, employee wellness programs and other services. Several insurers have agreed to underwrite voluntary benefit plans through bswift's exchange, including the Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, Unum Group, MetLife Inc. and Assurant Employee Benefits, a unit of Assurant Inc., according to a bswift spokeswoman.

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The Springboard Marketplace also provides enrollment and decision support resources for employees, as well as compliance assistance, data monitoring and reporting, secure filing networks and self-billing support tools for employers, according to a statement released by bswift on Tuesday.

“From the very beginning, our goal has been to use technology and information to simplify the administration of health care benefits, reduce costs and empower consumers, and the development of Springboard Marketplace is an extension of that strategy,” bswift CEO Rich Gallun said in the statement.

To date, 22 private and public health insurance exchanges have been built using the company's Exchange Solutions platform.

“Our technology platform is already being used by many of our exchange partners today,” Mr. Gallun said in the release. “Now, Springboard offers the launch of bswift's effort to 'stock the shelves' of our platform with preconfigured product offerings from carrier partners and other employee benefit vendors.”