3 New Years Tips for Brokers

New Year’s resolutions are fun to make but difficult to keep. 2017 is here and should be a year filled with opportunity for everyone in healthcare, including brokers. Here are 3 New Year’s resolutions that brokers can’t afford to miss in 2017:

Take advantage of regulatory uncertainty

Between the new administration, potential changes to existing healthcare legislation, and carrier mergers, the industry is bound to experience change in 2017. While for most in the healthcare industry, regulatory uncertainty is a hurdle, for brokers – it’s an opportunity.

In times of change and ambiguity, brokers become the source of experience in expertly guiding clients through the transition. In health insurance, regulatory uncertainty is when client prospects – especially those in small businesses – most reach out to an advisor to answer questions and help make their coverage decisions. Transitional periods are also opportunities to soothe the fears of existing clients and secure customer relationships long into the future.

Embrace digital technology

In 2017, health insurance decision support technologies will be ubiquitous. It’s no surprise, given just how tech-savvy and retail-oriented consumers have become, even in the healthcare industry. What does this mean for brokers? In order to secure long-term relationships and keep clients engaged, brokers must improve their digital shopping experience.

The difference now, however, is just how easy these tools have become to use. These tools are built to simplify the broker’s job, and as a result, are designed with ease-of-use as a top priority. Whether in the shopping and enrollment or benefits administration space, tools that are built to support the broker – rather than disintermediate the broker – will become the norm.

Support small businesses

As of January 1, employers with less than 50 full-time employees can fund Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRAs) to pay for out-of-pocket costs and premiums for health insurance purchased on the individual market. Given that 40M Americans work in small businesses and only 30% of those receive employer-sponsored coverage, there is a huge population of companies that are simply looking for more affordable coverage options for their employees (Modern Healthcare, “Could a provision in the Cures Act help stabilize the ACA exchanges?” December 2016)

This bill gives brokers a chance to support small businesses that may want to transition employees to the individual marketplace. Following the passage of the HRA bill, brokers are needed more than ever before to educate small business owners on their cost savings opportunities. By staying up-to-date on the latest regulations and leverage the technologies described above, brokers can increase their reach across the small business landscape.