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New advances in employer-sponsored benefits are not only revolutionizing the way to attract and retain employees - they also bring much-needed innovation to the U.S. health care system.

Rather than relying on an outdated, “one-size-fits-all” model, employers are taking advantage of a benefits solution that empowers their employees to take a 360-degree view of their benefits needs. A private exchange - also known as online benefits marketplace - is a consumer-centric model. It gives employees the ability to buy health and other benefits through an online “store,” typically using money allocated by their employer.

Leveraging expert insights from Barbara Gniewek (PwC), Rhonda Marcucci (Gruppo Marcucci/Arthur J. Gallagher & Co), Mark Hall (Professor, Wake Forest University, Christopher E. Condeluci (ACA Policy Expert), and more, Employee Benefits and the New Health Care Landscape is the first book of its kind to illuminate the evolution of private exchanges to help readers understand:

  • How the system got to be such a mess
  • How insurance brokers, employers and employees all have a role to play
  • How we can create a better employer-sponsored benefit system for all


Members of the press who would like to receive a copy of Employee Benefits and the New Health Care Landscape, or arrange an interview with Alan Cohen, can contact Lana Gersten via email or telephone, 312-846-1655.

The Private Exchange’s Spread in the Workforce

By Andie Burjek

In an interview with Workforce Magazine, benefits exchange expert Alan Cohen seeks to demystify the private exchange. Based on insights from in his new book, Cohen discusses the growth of private exchanges and the importance of employers making rational decisions when it comes to the health plans they choose.

6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Benefits Marketplace

By Alan Cohen

Excerpt from the book "Employee Benefits and the New Health Care Landscape: How Private Exchange are Bringing Choice and Consumerism to America’s Workforce" including commentary from benefits consultant Barbara Gniewek, a principal in PwC’s Global Human Resource Services practice.

Consumer-centric Benefits Revolutionizing War for Talent

By Bruce Shutan, Employee Benefits Advisor

Alan Cohen, a benefits technology and private exchange pioneer, argues in a new book why it’s more important than ever to promote choice in the group health market.

Insights Podcast: Why Employees Benefit from Digital Health Care Enrollment

In a conversation with Internet Health Management, Alan Cohen shares insights on the evolution of benefits marketplaces, the difference between public and private exchanges and the future of health care pricing, based on his book.


"This is a great book. Alan Cohen understands employee benefits as few others do. In this book, he explains the advantages of using an online marketplace to deliver a wider variety of benefit options to employees. It's well written in a style that's easy to absorb, the examples are clear and his arguments are compelling. If you're a benefits professional, you'll probably never see your industry the same way again after you read this book. If it doesn't change your perspective, you're ripe to be replaced by your employer (HR professional) or client (benefits advisor) by someone who practices what Alan Cohen preaches."

— William G. Stuart,

Director of Strategy and Compliance, Benefit Strategies LLC

“When Alan Cohen opened the doors at Liazon in 2007, he revolutionized the way insurance was sold. Though the idea was simple, it was also ahead of its time. Liazon was among the first companies to establish a private health insurance exchange, a trend that has since exploded. Employee Benefits and the New Health Care Landscape gives us a rare, inside look into the mind that created the private exchange wave ten years ago.”

— Kathryn Mayer,

Editor-in-Chief, Employee Benefit News

“Regardless of your political affiliation, sitting out the current debate on health care and benefits is no longer an option. Private exchanges offer one solution to one part of the problem; this book explains why.”

— Christopher E. Condeluci,

CC Law & Policy PLLC, ACA expert

“It has been my pleasure to work with Alan Cohen over the years and observe the private exchange evolution firsthand. The industry has been in need of a book like this for a very long time.”

— Rhonda Marcucci,

Vice President, HR & Benefits Technology Consulting Practice at Gruppo Marcucci, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.

“Few business leaders and HR/Benefits professionals appreciate the power and utility of the private exchange or marketplace platform for creating choice, next generation service delivery and a higher level of engagement in the benefits process...not to mention the cost management opportunities. Alan understands this intimately and provides an enlightening guide to the concept and its utility. Must reading for HR and benefits leaders”

— Randall Abbott,

Senior Strategist Emeritus of the Willis Towers Watson Health and Benefits Practice

“To anyone that has a shred of connection to the challenging decisions facing employers and employees and their benefits, I would highly recommend reading / listening to Alan's perspective and how he and his colleagues have ways to meet the challenges head on.”

— Matthew Clarke,

Co-Founder of Bouchey & Clarke Benefits, Inc.

“I am sure we will all learn a ton from Alan Cohen’s perspective and insight. I worked with (for) Alan at one of his companies, Online Benefits and he is definitely a domain expert. I am excited for the read!”

— Michael Roeder,

Chief Growth Officer at CliniCloud, Inc.

“Alan - congratulations! I've just ordered the book and look forward to reading it!”

— Dave Kerrigan,

Founder, Principal and Managing Director at Sante Nasc, LLC


Alan Cohen

Co-founder, Liazon

picture of Alan Cohen


Alan Cohen is head of product for the Exchange Solutions segment of Willis Towers Watson, defining the future of benefits delivery with innovative, modernized solutions for businesses of all sizes, including their global service line. Additionally, he co-founded Liazon, operator of the industry’s leading private benefits exchanges in 2007. Liazon was acquired by Towers Watson, now Willis Towers Watson, in 2013.

Alan has been a leader in the benefits space for over two decades. Prior to Liazon, Alan was CEO and Co-founder of Online Benefits, one of the first web-based benefits technology companies in the U.S. Prior to Online Benefits, he worked in the insurance industry for Prudential, Mass Mutual, Cigna, and served as managing director for a division of Northwestern Mutual Life.

Alan is often sought out for his insights on private exchanges, their role in the new health care landscape and their effect on businesses. His expert commentary has appeared in Bloomberg/Business Week, Forbes, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Yahoo Finance,, and numerous benefits publications including Employee Benefit News and Benefits Pro.

Alan holds a BA from Cornell University, and MBA from Columbia Business School and an MBA from London Business School, where he won the Award for Academic Excellence.

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