Small business owners often have far more than enough to keep track of just to successfully run and build their businesses. And staying on top of business health insurance trends is often not on their radar, so to speak.
However, given the significant costs of employee health insurance plans for these companies, it is important to know what to expect from the business health insurance industry.
CONTINUED CHANGES IN THE POST-PANDEMIC REALM OF HEALTH INSURANCE
Generally speaking, the last several years have been difficult ones for many businesses including the health insurance industry. Insurers have seen claims activity declining substantially over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, for example.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about substantial changes and challenges for the health insurance industry in the US. From increased healthcare costs to the need for expanded coverage and the rise of telehealth services, insurers have had to navigate a rapidly evolving landscape while striving to provide quality care and financial protection to policyholders.
Fortunately, health coverage insurers are embracing new technology to optimize otherwise complex and time-consuming processes, which is a trend that is rapidly expanding in 2023.
For example, an article from Omnia Health noted a move towards a transformation of analytics in healthcare coverage,
“In 2023 healthcare insurance may finally realise the potential of using artificial intelligence and machine learning to process and analyse data quickly and efficiently to gain insights about their customers and predict their behaviour.
In doing so they can target insurance policies at the right customers and identify fraud risks and triage claims. Data can speed up the sales process, improve customer satisfaction, and significantly reduce risk.
Jerome Droesch (CEO of Domestic Health and Health Services at Cigna International Markets) sees enormous potential in AI-driven analytics, noting: “In the coming years, operationalising AI platforms across certain healthcare workflows has the potential to increase productivity by 10 to 15 per cent.”
THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in the health insurance industry that are still in place even in the post-pandemic era.
One of the most notable changes is the increased emphasis on telehealth services. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual consultations, remote monitoring, and digital health solutions. Health insurance companies have responded by expanding coverage and reimbursement for telehealth services, recognizing the convenience, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of remote healthcare.
This shift towards telehealth is expected to continue beyond the pandemic and 2023, transforming the way healthcare is delivered and accessed.
Another important change is the renewed focus on public health and preventive care.
Among many other issues, the pandemic underscored the importance of early detection, disease prevention, and community health initiatives. Today, health insurance providers are investing more in preventive services and wellness programs to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce healthcare costs in the long run.
Additionally, there is an increased emphasis on infectious disease management and preparedness, with insurance plans offering coverage for vaccines, testing, and treatment in response to future outbreaks.
The pandemic also highlighted the need for greater flexibility and adaptability in health insurance coverage.
In addition to the permanent closure of thousands of small businesses throughout the US, many individuals experienced job losses and subsequent loss of employer-sponsored health insurance during the crisis. This led to discussions around the importance of portable coverage options, expanded eligibility for public programs, and affordable private insurance plans that cater to the needs of individuals and families in times of economic uncertainty.
These and other changes reflect an ongoing shift towards more patient-centered, accessible, and adaptable healthcare systems.
TOP BUSINESS HEALTH INSURANCE TRENDS FOR 2023
While there are a myriad of changes that take place in the industry year after year, some of the top trends during 2023 include the following:
Economic Uncertainty and Health Care Costs
Health care costs continue to rise, and economic uncertainty is playing a role. According to a 2022 report health care costs increased 3.2 percent that year and employers are experiencing an even bigger increase at 5.4 percent. Almost 70 percent of employers in a recent survey expect their health care costs to rise moderately or significantly over the next three years. As a result, more than 50 percent also expect their costs to be over-budget in 2023.
Increased Need for Behavioral Health Support
Recent research indicates that frequent mental distress has increased among adults and, according to America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report, the rise in frequent mental distress increased 11 percent among adults between 2020 and 2021. While much of this has been attributed to consequences of the pandemic, it is a trend that is expected to continue for some time. This is a concern as employees with mental distress or depression often experience lower productivity.
Continuing Increase in Available Specialty Drugs
Significant investments are being made in pharmaceutical research and development over the last decade. In fact, between 2014 and 2022, the industry experienced a 78 percent increase in the number of available drugs. However, the cost of these new, specialty drugs has increased with that growth. In 2021, for example, the total cost of specialty drugs amounted to $301 billion, a 43 percent jump since 2016.
Mid-way through 2023, business owners are not only concerned about an imminent recession, but the competitive labor market is forcing many employers to continue having to do more with less. While the demand for higher salaries and better benefits are making it increasingly difficult to attract and retain hard-to-find talent, trends within the health care industry are adding to the challenge.
The good news is that small business owners don’t have to face it all alone.
Small businesses partner with experienced insurance brokers such as J.C. Lewis for their company’s health insurance needs – for several good reasons.
First, we possess expert knowledge and experience in navigating the complex insurance landscape and can ensure that our clients receive comprehensive coverage tailored to their specific requirements. We have access to a wide range of insurance providers and can offer objective advice, comparing multiple options to secure the best rates and coverage for small businesses.
Furthermore, firms such as ours can save you valuable time by handling administrative tasks, such as claims processing and policy management, allowing business owners to focus on their core operations. By leveraging our expertise, small businesses like yours can ensure cost-effective and suitable health insurance solutions for their employees while minimizing the administrative burden.
J.C. LEWIS INSURANCE SERVICES: SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH INSURANCE EXPERTS
J.C. Lewis Insurance, a family-owned firm that has been based in Sonoma County since 1979, is made up of expert brokers who offer small business insurance plans. For the last four decades our mission has been to provide expert advice and assistance to small business owners for group health insurance and group medical plans.
In addition, our firm only provides small business health insurance plans from the leading health insurance carriers licensed to do business in the states where we operate.
We are licensed and certified by each insurance carrier to offer coverage to small-group employers so, when you’re thinking of purchasing health insurance for yourself and your employees – and possibly vision and dental coverage – you will likely have several questions and concerns.
We’re happy to answer all your questions about health insurance coverage at J.C. Lewis Insurance Services, and you can be confident that we will help you find the right solution.