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Investment firm Fidelity offers health exchange for smaller employers


Fidelity Investments has stepped into the health benefits ring with the launch of its private exchange for small and midsized employers.

The Boston-based financial services firm on Tuesday launched the Fidelity Health Marketplace, which the firm describes as a “one-stop access to health and wellness benefits,” Fidelity said in a statement.

Fidelity Health Marketplace lets employers with two to 2,500 employees select from a network of national and regional medical, dental, vision, and life benefits, as well as wellness programs and tax-savings options, according to the statement.

While the exchange was just publicly launched, the business has been running for about a year and currently has “a handful of employers signed on” in New York and Massachusetts, Joe Laurin, president of Fidelity Health Marketplace, said in an email Tuesday.

Plans are being offered by national insurers and “a critical mass” of regional insurers in New York and Massachusetts, he said, though he did not specify which insurers are participating.

A spokeswoman for Fidelity on Tuesday said the firm intends to expand the marketplace to all 50 states through a state-by-state process.

Fidelity has offered record-keeping services for retirement and health benefits to large clients for 20 years, but sensed a need to help midsized and smaller employers, which he said were underserved in the market, integrate their benefits across retirement and health lines, Mr. Laurin explained.

“Our small to midsized customers on the 401(k) side have told us they are confused about the health care market, and they want their health and retirement benefits integrated,” he said.

Fidelity is using the private exchange model to facilitate that.

“As health care regulation, complexity and cost increase, and benefits selection becomes more consumer-driven, employers need help simplifying the experience for their employees,” Mr. Laurin said in the company statement. “This doesn't just mean education on which benefits to choose during annual enrollment, but how to use them.”

Fidelity's private exchange uses Reston, Virginia-based software company hCentive Inc.'s WebInsure technology platform.

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