The Utah Health
before the health
the Salt Lake
The hack was a
graffiti attack of
portal for shop-
ping for insur-
ance, with words
and some pages
and the site
was down for
about 10 days,
for the Gover-
nor’s Office of
on a separate
secure site and
was not affected.
In a move that could herald a sea
change in health benefits, Sears Holdings Corp. and Darden Restaurants,
Inc. this year will begin allowing employees to purchase health insurance
through a private insurance exchange.
Around 90,000 Sears employees
and some 45,000 Darden employees
will be eligible to purchase insurance
through the exchange, which will be
operated by Aon Hewitt. Starting Jan.
1, employees at the two companies
will be given lump sums of money to
use in choosing their medical plan
and provider from the exchange. Neither Sears nor Darden disclosed the
amount employees would receive, although Darden said it would increase
the amount as health care costs rise.
Aon Hewitt describes its corporate
exchange as a full-service model that
includes a suite of consumer-based
decision support tools “that turns selecting health benefits into a retail
shopping experience.” The firm has
been using its exchange to administer
health insurance benefits for its employees and families.
Aon Hewitt explains that employees in its exchange will have access to
a wide range of benefits experts and
advisors, including its “advocacy support” team, to answer questions and
provide guidance during enrollment
and throughout the year.
“There are examples in every
industry, including i Tunes, Ama-zon.com and Orbitz, where the
introduction of competition on a
retail, consumer level has driven
down prices and made the industry more efficient,” said Ken
Sperling, Aon Hewitt’s national
health exchange strategy leader.
“The Aon Hewitt Corpo-
rate Exchange is a viable alterna-
tive for companies searching for
solutions that can reduce cost,
transfer risk to insurers, empow-
er employees to make smarter
health care choices and create
a more sustainable health care
Research reports show there
is growing interest among both em-
ployers and employees in corporate
exchanges. Aon Hewitt’s 2012 Corpo-
rate Health Exchange survey of more
than 562 employers shows more than
40 percent of employers expect to par-
ticipate in a health care exchange in
the next three-to-five years. Another
study conducted by J.D. Power and
Associates in March 2012 revealed
that approximately 41 percent of em-
ployer-insured health plan members
would use a private health insurance
exchange approach if it were available.
Industry consultants say most employers are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward private exchanges.
Two Major Employers Embrace
Private Health Insurance Exchanges
Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Sears Holdings Corp.
Ambulatory software vendor eClinical Works has launched a free national peer-to-peer electronic network for physicians and other providers.
The network enables physicians to securely communicate with peers regardless of electronic health records systems being used, and even if they don’t have
an EHR, according to the vendor. The network supports secure messaging protocols of the federally developed Direct Project.
Westborough, Mass.-based eClinical Works has been developing the network
with client physicians and other providers invited by those clients. It officially
launches the network with 10,000 physician members, including about 1,000 who
are not users of its practice management and EHR software.
The vendor expects to invest $10 million more in the network during the next
year. Initial services include finding and connecting with providers; transmitting
electronic referrals and related information; transmitting patients records with attachments including progress notes, lab results, medical summary and scanned
documents; and building a personal address book. The network is available at
Vendor Launches National
Network for Clinicians