Top challenges facing health insurance professionals

Written by: Holly Bengfort
Published on May 2, 2023.

The last few years have been particularly challenging for healthcare professionals, including those in the insurance industry. Even post-pandemic, insurance leaders are still feeling the effects of the public health emergency.

Health insurance providers face significant challenges in 2023. As you look to the future of the healthcare industry, staying ahead of these obstacles will help keep you afloat.

In this article, we'll look at five common insurance industry challenges brokers, agents, and claims specialists face today. We'll also outline how you can overcome them and better serve your clients as they navigate the ever-evolving healthcare benefits space.

Do you have clients who are facing rate increases? Learn which HRA is right for them based on their budget, company size, and more

1. The rising cost of healthcare

One of the biggest challenges for insurers is the rising cost of healthcare. Health insurance professionals know premium prices go up once renewal season comes around. The higher price tag makes it increasingly difficult to help small businesses find an affordable plan that meets their budget. For many, it's an expensive investment.

A recent Deloitte report1 found that 76% of healthcare professionals believe inflation and affordability will have a significant impact on their strategy for 2023.

Inflation isn’t just impacting organizations looking to offer benefits to their employees. Rising cost-of-living expenses could have some people stretching their budgets thin to the point where they delay their routine or preventative care to make ends meet.

According to data collected by Willis Towers Watson2 (WTW), widespread economic inflation and increasing healthcare utilization are drastically increasing healthcare benefit costs across the world. The WTW 2023 Global Medical Trends Survey revealed that healthcare costs are projected to jump 10% in 2023. That's the highest level in nearly 15 years.

How to overcome this challenge

Traditional group health insurance plans aren't the only options brokers and insurance agents have to offer their clients. Offering a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), especially to small and medium-sized organizations with limited budgets, can be a far more affordable and flexible alternative.

Through an HRA, employers offer a monthly allowance of their choosing to their employees. Their employees can pick their own individual health insurance and the medical care they receive. Then, they submit those expenses to their employer and receive tax-free reimbursement for their qualifying medical expenses.

There are several types of HRAs available, and each one offers tax benefits. Here are the three most popular options:

An HRA is an excellent alternative for your clients who see a large rate increase, can’t afford group coverage, or don’t meet minimum participation requirements. By partnering with PeopleKeep, you’ll earn a referral bonus for any clients who sign up with us. Plus, your clients will have their $150 sign-up fee waived.

2. High customer expectations

We get it; the insurance business is tough. You have sales goals to meet and policies to sell. But if you want to find success in 2023, you need to humanize the insurance customer experience.

Your customers expect a high level of service that's as personal as it is professional. A PwC study3 on customer experience found that one in three consumers will walk away from a trusted brand after a single bad experience. Data from the survey found that 82% of U.S. consumers want more human interaction as well.

Healthcare consumers expect their brokers and agents to act as trusted advisors they can count on to help them make informed decisions about their health plans. Your clients want to be seen, heard, and cared for. When you take the time to educate them and listen to their needs, they're more likely to trust your professional opinion.

How to overcome this challenge

A good tactic to overcome the pressure to sell while also building rapport is to work both sales and meaningful connections into your business goals. While you undoubtedly already have short-term sales and production goals in place, consider setting long-term goals that focus on building up your clientele and improving your client relationships. You can check in more often and offer important updates whenever possible to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.

3. The digital transformation

Another challenge for insurers and other insurance professionals is adjusting to the new technology that's available. Optimizing operations using digital technologies is the name of the game for 2023.

With everything being instant these days, it's become an expectation for your clients. Much of the world digests information in quick bits on the internet, social media, and other digital platforms. If you're not embracing digital resources and technology in the insurance sector, you'll get left behind.

Plus, mobile apps and other platforms can make your life easier.

How to overcome this challenge

Don't be the last insurance broker to hop on the bandwagon. Reassess your business model and learn how to leverage online access. Several companies have already adopted cloud computing and artificial intelligence to improve their processes.

In addition to educating your clients in the traditional ways, you could also share videos, guides, and infographics to help make the health insurance world less intimidating. Plus, this goes hand-in-hand with providing the type of customer service that builds trust and rapport with your clients.

4. Protecting health information

Another challenge for insurers is keeping their client's protected health information (PHI) safe. The healthcare space is loaded with private, confidential data. These days, everything from health records, prescription information, and medical histories all exist in some electronic format. As a health insurer, you collect all kinds of potentially sensitive information, making you even more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Data from Fortified Health Security's 2023 Horizon Report4 shows that in 2022, the number of breached healthcare records increased to 51.4 million, compared with 49.4 million in 2021. Additionally, 78% of those 2022 breaches were attributed to hacking and IT incidents.

How to overcome this challenge

If your clients ever share personal health information with you, it's your responsibility to make sure it's kept safe. Implementing best privacy practices like encrypting sensitive files, staying up to date on PHI privacy rule procedures, and using a password manager to keep everything straight will help you keep your clients' information protected.

5. On-going industry changes

From the rise of telemedicine and telehealth to unique guidelines for those impacted by COVID-19, health insurance carriers have to continually stay informed about relevant industry news, regulations, and insights as they happen.

How to overcome this challenge

Since there's no stopping the consistent series of transformations, health insurance professionals must keep a close eye on the news and follow trustworthy industry experts to stay in the know. Whether it's signing up for a weekly email newsletter, following official social media accounts, or checking in with blogs and sites from industry experts, keeping up with news as it happens is the best way to ensure you're never caught off guard.


From inflation to data breaches, 2023 comes with its share of obstacles for health insurance professionals. But being aware makes you better prepared. People are looking to you for answers, guidance, and reliable information. When you remember to put your customers first, you can reach your sales goals while cultivating meaningful relationships.

This article was originally published on April 16, 2014. It was last updated May 2, 2023.





Originally published on May 2, 2023. Last updated May 2, 2023.


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