HR/benefits consulting firm Mercer announced Thursday the launch of a private benefits exchange developed by Benefitfocus, available to employers with at least 100 employees.

Called Mercer Marketplace, the exchange will provide access to a broad array of benefits--both traditional and voluntary--from multiple insurance providers, along with education tools and support to help employees customize their choices to better fit their needs, according to the company.

In the exchange--which uses cloud-based technology developed by Benefitfocus--employers will be able to determine how much to contribute toward the cost of their benefits program.

In launching this exchange, Mercer joins other companies large and small building their own health care exchanges, a key element of President Obama’s health care reform legislation. In July 2012, the employee benefit consulting arm of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. launched a private insurance exchange platform in partnership with Liazon Corp., that included health, dental, vision, life and disability coverage, among other benefits, from various national and regional insurance providers. Aon Hewitt also launched an exchange last year.

According to Mercer, 56 percent of employers are considering a private exchange to provide benefits to their active employees or retirees.

This story first appeared in Employee Benefit News, a SourceMedia publication.

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