Aetna acquires bswift, health insurance exchange platform company, for $400M

By Brian Dolan
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bswift mobile appAetna has agreed to acquire Chicago-based bswift, which offers a technology platform that powers health insurance exchanges, for approximately $400 million. The company, which has about 380 employees will remain a separate business within Aetna led by its current team. Bswift raised about $51 million from Great Hill Partners earlier this year.

“Bswift’s consumer-friendly technology for benefits shopping and administration is an excellent fit with our proprietary exchange strategy,” Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman, CEO and president said in a statement. “With more employers giving employees their choice of benefits via private exchanges, bswift’s technology platform will provide Aetna with the capability to deliver a new private-exchange offering for employers of all sizes where the focus is on helping people easily choose a plan that’s right for them and their families.”

Bswift's offerings help streamline benefits, human resources and payroll administration, and include buying assistance and education features. Bswift has inked deals with a number of health plans including Minnesota's HealthPartners and health insurance exchanges, like those offered by GetInsured. It also offers its own private health and benefits exchange, Springboard Marketplace, and has partnered with digital health companies like Retrofit and ShapeUp to make their services available through it.

One of bswift's key features is an interactive decision support tool called Ask Emma. 

"Our interactive benefits advisor, Ask Emma, walks employees through each step of the enrollment process and gets to know their personal needs and preferences along the way by asking a few simple questions – including which doctors or hospitals they prefer," the company writes on its site. "Using these answers, she presents the plans that best fit their specific needs."

Bswift started out as a company called Platinum Healthcare, which hoped to launch the first web-based consumer-driven health plan back in 1996. It changed courses to build a benefits technology platform for employers in 2000.