Towers Watson buys Liazon, broadens share of private HIX market
Consulting firm Towers Watson announced late last month it had purchased Liazon, a private health insurance exchange, for $215 million. Liazon operates Bright Choices, a brand that distributes coverage to small and midsize employers through more than 400 insurance brokers.
The buy expands Towers Watson’s reach in the private HIX market, as the consulting firm already owns and operates OneExchange Active, a self-insured exchange for active employees, and OneExchange Access, a concierge service that connects Americans without access to an employer-sponsored medical plan to their state exchange. TW’s OneExchange Retiree is the private Medicare exchange formerly known as Extend Health. Towers Watson bought Extend about 18 months ago.
Public support for ACA at lowest point since becoming law
The latest Health Tracking Poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that just one-third of Americans (33%) have a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act, compared with nearly half (49%) who have an unfavorable view of the law.
According to KFF, that measure reflects the lowest level of public support for health care reform since ACA became law in 2010.
This week’s hidden gem: National HDHP enrollment now equal to HMOs
High-deductible health plans—which have been making steady enrollment gains over the last two decades as employers increasingly adopt the plans to help curb rising health care costs—have hit a new enrollment milestone. HDHP enrollment hit 18% nationwide this year, and now matches the percentage of Americans enrolled in HMO plans, according to a Mercer survey recently reported in Employee Benefit News.
Nearly two-thirds of all large employers and one-third of small employers plan to offer an HDHP within three years. Mercer researchers point to the plans as a key way for employers to avoid the “Cadillac tax” under the Affordable Care Act, effective in 2018.