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Private exchanges for health coverage made headlines last fall as a number of companies signed up for the new format. But a couple of recent surveys suggest that many other employers are waiting to see how well the exchanges perform before committing themselves.

The public exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act offer individual coverage, generally to people who don’t get health insurance at work. In contrast, private exchanges serve companies that provide health insurance as a benefit, letting employees of these organizations pick the group coverage they want from a range of plans offered by different insurers at different prices. The hope is that insurers’ competition to win employees’ business on the exchanges will help contain healthcare costs. The exchanges also relieve employers of some of the work of administering health benefits and provide them with more certainty about healthcare costs.

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