One of the recurring themes at the Consumer-Driven Healthcare and the Private Marketplace Conference in Scottsdale, AZ last week was the idea that a private exchange should be thought of as a “front door” to the healthcare system, rather than a finite destination. What does that really mean? We’d like to think that the private exchange is the panacea to everyone’s health insurance challenges, but the reality is that the exchanges and the software that power them need to be part of an overall retail/consumer engagement strategy. Carriers who are already running successful exchanges are seeing that their customers utilize multiple channels for reaching them: online through the exchange, via their telephone or smartphone, and even physical brick and mortar storefronts. Eventually, we’ll see unified customer service with real-time data synchronization between the storefront, call center and online platform.

While many carriers are focused now on implementing an exchange and making sure enrollment runs smoothly, the larger, longer-term challenge will be the comprehensive shift in how carriers engage with their customers throughout the entire member life cycle. The Scottsdale conference attendees came from a variety of backgrounds, but there seemed to be a consensus on the future of exchanges and how they will tie into a customer’s interaction with his/her health benefits. Eventually, the exchange will be the one point for shopping, enrolling, consuming, monitoring and utilizing health care benefits. Members will have access at their fingertips to all aspects of their health benefits.

We are excited about our private exchange software and its abilities to meet the needs of today’s health insurance consumer. We are on the forefront of this healthcare retail revolution and we are looking forward to working with our customers to create a “front door” that everyone wants to open.