via Wall Street Journal
Starbucks Corp. on Monday became one of the most high-profile employers to switch its employees to a private health insurance exchange.
Instead of the one health insurer and three medical coverage levels they have now, U.S. employees from Chief Executive Howard Schultz to store baristas working at least 20 hours a week will be able to choose from among up to six national and regional carriers, and five levels of medical plan starting in October.
In recent years, several large companies including Walgreen Co.,Sears Holdings Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc. have moved employees onto private exchanges, which are essentially online marketplaces where employers can have their workers choose health plans.
But they haven’t caught on as quickly as insurers once expected. Consulting firm Accenture PLC had estimated that 40 million Americans would be getting insurance through private exchanges by 2020, but only about eight million people have done so.