Release 7/26/2017

83 Percent of Health Insurance Brokers Say Employers Lean on Them to Control Health Care Costs

DirectPath, the industry leader in employee engagement, health care transparency and compliance, today unveiled new research, Strategies and Service Innovation Shaping Brokers’ Transformation from Sales Representatives to Strategic Benefits Consultants. The report, which details findings from a recent survey of health insurance brokers, reveals that 78 percent of brokers have added new products and services in the past year to help their employer customers control health care costs. Already, 83 percent of brokers report that employers look to them to manage health care spend, and these new products and services could become even more in demand given the cloudy future of health care policy.

How New Employer Demands are Redefining the Broker Role

DirectPath surveyed more than 120 health insurance brokers to uncover trends, challenges and opportunities in the health benefits market today. These brokers, who worked for companies ranging from less than 100 employees to more than 10,000 employees, represent a sample of decision-makers when it comes to their broker firms’ product and service offerings, holding roles in account management, sales and strategy.

While 83 percent of broker respondents say they find their job more challenging today than they did three years ago, they also see huge opportunity in assuming the role of strategic consultant to employers: the vast majority of surveyed brokers cited the opportunity to be positioned as strategic consultants as the leading driver to add new, innovative services. This opportunity comes as employers require greater assistance navigating a much-changed health care landscape in the wake of evolving health care policies and shifts in the way employees want to digest benefits information.

In addition to helping employers control health care costs, of the brokers surveyed:

  • 73 percent say employers require assistance with compliance and reporting
  • 63 percent say employers rely on them for help with communications materials
  • 53 percent say employers seek their guidance to manage open enrollment

How Brokers Are Responding to an Evolving Market with New Service Offerings

To meet new employer demands and stay competetive, brokers are adding to their suite of services – and finding strong value in these new offerings. Approximately three quarters of brokers surveyed now offer employee engagement, transparency and advocacy services. Of these services, brokers see both the highest levels of demand for, and highest business value from, employee engagement, with:

  • 83 percent of respondents reporting demand for employee engagement (versus 69 percent for advocacy and 56 percent of transparency services); and
  • 88 percent of respondents reporting value from employee engagement (versus 81 percent for advocacy and 77 percent for transparency).

Ninety-four percent of brokers also report seeing business value from their ERISA and ACA compliance services, and 79 percent said they see business value from their voluntary benefits services.

“The health care landscape is constantly in flux, and this shows no sign of changing not only as a result of the political climate, but as we see continued industry innovation alongside the evolving needs from today’s workforce,” said Bart Yancey, CEO, DirectPath. “All of these changes present high levels of complexities for employers who want to give their employees the benefits they need, while operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Brokers have a huge opportunity to be the strategic partner for helping employers keep costs down, engage employees on their benefits and maintain compliance to shifting regulations. It’s a really exciting time for them.”

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