Towers Watson Partners With Extend Health on Retiree Medical Solution
Employers get expert advice to transition retirees to a private health care exchange and manage costs; retirees gain more individual Medicare plan choices and increased buying power.
NEW YORK, August 2, 2011 – Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW), a global professional services company, and Extend Health Inc., which operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country, announced today that they have formed a strategic alliance. This alliance between two retiree medical market leaders will provide employers and their Medicare-eligible retirees with innovative, best-in-class health care solutions that combine specialized retiree medical transition consulting with the choice and cost advantages of individual Medicare plans purchased on a private exchange. For employers faced with the financial and administrative challenges of managing Medicare-eligible retiree health care programs, these solutions will simplify transitioning their retirees to the individual market, enabling them to manage costs while giving retirees more choice and buying power.
The Towers Watson and Extend Health alliance comes at a time when many companies are reviewing their retiree medical strategy. According to Towers Watson/ISCEBS research,* 60% of employers that currently offer retiree medical plans are rethinking their programs for 2012 or 2013.
“Rising costs, health care reform requirements and talent management goals have made providing retiree medical benefits a challenge for employers,” said Dave Osterndorf, chief health care actuary at Towers Watson. “But employers don’t need to wait until state-run public insurance exchanges open in 2014 to transition their Medicare-eligible retirees to private individual plans on an exchange. Towers Watson and Extend Health can help employers with an effective solution that meets the needs of both employers and retirees right now.”
Towers Watson has a long history of pioneering solutions in the retirement medical benefits space, providing a full range of innovative solutions to many of the nation’s leading employers.
“Now, Towers Watson and Extend Health will work together to help employers ensure their retirees are well supported while minimizing demands on employers’ internal resources,” said Benjamin Pajak, senior consultant at Towers Watson. “The solution assists employers transitioning to the exchange through a team of Towers Watson retiree medical subject matter experts and best-in-class implementation and execution capabilities. Through a singular focus on the intricacies of the Medicare market, the alliance with Extend Health creates a virtual center of excellence for our clients at no additional cost to employers or their retirees.”
Over seven years, Extend Health has built the largest private Medicare exchange in the country. More employers have used Extend Health than any other company to transition their retirees to a private Medicare exchange. Extend Health is also the only company that has helped more than 350,000 retirees use an exchange to select from over 3,500 private Medicare plans from 73 national and regional insurance companies.
Extend Health effectively supports retirees in making key health plan purchasing decisions. The established Extend Health exchange platform enables end-to-end electronic transmission of information between the exchange and carriers, ensuring accurate and efficient enrollment, premium administration, claim processing and reimbursements. Extend Health’s licensed benefit advisors work in U.S. call centers where state-of-the-art routing systems direct every caller to a benefit advisor with the licensure and insurance appointments that match the caller’s geographic area and available plans. Advanced decision-support tools help benefit advisors provide clear and concise guidance and support, and make it easy for retirees to select the private Medicare coverage that best suits their needs.
“Towers Watson is a recognized market leader with a strong track record of helping employers develop strategies and create programs for employee and retiree benefits,” said Bryce Williams, CEO of Extend Health. “Together, we can make one plus one equal three. Employers get Towers Watson experts and extensive experience, and access to a proven, powerful and scalable exchange solution.”
*The Sixth Annual Towers Watson/ISCEBS Retiree Health Survey was completed by nearly 250 employers in January and February 2011.
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About Extend Health
Extend Health, Inc., founded in 2004, operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country. For more information, visit Extend Health on the web at extendhealth.com.
About Towers Watson
Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) is a leading global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people, risk and financial management. The company offers solutions in the areas of employee benefits, talent management, rewards, and risk and capital management. Towers Watson has 14,000 associates around the world and is located on the web at towerswatson.com/.