Here’s what’s happening in the life and health insurance industry in 2023 so far. 

While staying up to date can easily fall to the wayside, doing so can help you stay agile in the current marketplace. As we’re halfway through 2023, it’s a great time to check in on the trends and current events happening in the life and health insurance industry. 

Let’s explore some recent headlines that insurance professionals should be aware of.

1. The End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration 

As of May 11, 2023, the COVID-19 PHE expired. With this transition out of the emergency phase of COVID-19, there are some changes surrounding health coverage that you and your clients may need to know: 

  • Telemedicine growth. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the use and popularity of telehealth to skyrocket. We have seen an increase in the use of telehealth at the start of the year, and many experts agree that this will continue throughout the rest of 2023.
  • Telehealth changes. During the COVID-19 PHE, many health insurance plans expanded to include telehealth coverage. There may be changes happening around telehealth on certain health plans. Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which extends many of the Medicare-related telehealth flexibilities implemented during the COVID-19 PHE through the end of 2024. 
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Covering the costs of COVID-19 diagnostic testing is no longer going to be a health plan requirement.
  • COVID-19 vaccine costs. Cost sharing for COVID-19 vaccines may be required if you get vaccinated by an out-of-network provider.
  • Eligibility reviews for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage. States are going to resume eligibility reviews for these programs. Some of your clients may not be able to continue using this coverage. 
  • The end of deadline extensions. Health-related deadline extensions around things like special enrollment requests, COBRA elections, filing a claim, and more, have ended. 

Knowing these updates allows you to educate and serve your clients better with timely information they may need. 

2. Increased Transparency Requirements 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out phase two of their Transparency in Coverage Rules. These rules are designed to “provide additional access to pricing information and enhance consumers' ability to shop for the health care that best meets their needs.” Phase two requires health insurance issuers to disclose personalized pricing information to their enrollees, participants, and beneficiaries. Cost estimates must be shared in real-time via phone, hard copy, or an online consumer tool. 

With the CMS’s Final Rule 2023 and the final phase of the Transparency in Coverage Rules going into effect in 2024, there will likely continue to be an expectation of agent and agency transparency. Additionally, there is now a 48-hour waiting period between scope-of-appointment creation and the first agent-consumer meeting. This waiting period will be waived if a consumer walks in to see an agent in person. These rules will go into place for the 2024 enrollment season. 

In addition to these regulations, the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) now requires agents to obtain consent to contact from an individual, employer, or employee when:

  • Conducting a search for consumer applications using an approved Classic Direct Enrollment (Classic DE) or Enhanced Direct Enrollment (EDE) website
  • Helping the consumer apply for Marketplace coverage or financial assistance
  • Enrolling the consumer in a Marketplace qualified health plan (QHP)
  • Checking the status of the consumer’s coverage and making updates throughout the year via, approved Classic DE or EDE websites, and/or the Marketplace Call Center

On top of getting permission, you also need to record and maintain this permission in your records. AgencyBloc’s Insurance CRM features can help you keep all of this information organized in one place.

3. An Influx of Gen Z Health Insurance Enrollments 

The oldest members of Generation Z turn 26 this year, meaning that many of them will age out of their parent’s healthcare plans and be on the hunt for their own. Gen Z differs from other generations in many ways when it comes to shopping and gathering information. Thus, agents need to rethink their insurance marketing and selling strategy for this generation. 

Changes to your strategy may include expanding your social media presence to other platforms Gen Z frequents, like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, communicating authentically and transparently, and being an educational resource that Gen Zers can rely on.

4. A Shift Toward More Digital Experiences

Technology use continues to increase worldwide. Gen Z is getting older, and many people appreciate the convenience that online shopping provides. Having an online presence will become even more of an expectation going forward. This is why it’s important to have a strong social media presence, ensure your website is optimized and mobile-friendly, and make use of powerful digital marketing tactics, such as text messaging and email marketing

5. Rising Health Insurance Costs

As experts predicted at the beginning of the year, many states have seen increases in health insurance rates in 2023 – some have seen drastic increases while other states have seen slight decreases. These increases may cause your clients to rely heavily on your guidance and expertise as they reconsider their plans during Open Enrollment.

6. Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has become a hot topic this year, and along with the general public and other working professionals, insurance agents can enjoy the many benefits that AI has to offer. AI can help you with tasks big and small. From analyzing large amounts of data to streamlining the underwriting process and more, AI could play a part. All of the valuable time saved on these tasks can be poured back into other important aspects of your job, such as customer service and lead management. 

Keep in mind that these capabilities are still in their early stages, and more information will come out as time goes on. With AI, there are also some concerns in regard to data security, privacy, and more. 

7. Consistency on the Life Insurance Front

Regarding life insurance, things have remained pretty consistent over the past few years. One change to make note of in terms of life insurance is that (as predicted) the cost of life insurance has seen steady, slow growth. 

Rising costs can make it harder to retain current clients and close prospects. This, coupled with inflation and fears of a recession, may cause some policy churn as consumers look for options with better terms and pricing or reconsider if life insurance is worth the investment. As an agent, the best thing you can do is prepare for these conversations, focus on showing the value of life insurance, and share more accessible options, such as term life insurance instead of whole life insurance. 

What’s Next for the Rest of 2023?

Although we can try to predict what will happen during the rest of the year, things can change at the drop of a hat. One thing we know is that it’s difficult to stay abreast of industry changes and keep your agency firing on all cylinders. 

Thankfully, there are platforms out there that can help you stay organized, streamline daily processes, and save time on important tasks so that you can focus more on what’s happening in your industry in real-time.

AgencyBloc’s insurance-specific management platform offers a suite of solutions that help you and your agency stay efficient and effective – from insurance CRM tools that help you store and organize important documents to automation capabilities that save time, and more.

See How AgencyBloc Can Support You in 2023 and Beyond

AgencyBloc is the #1 Recommended Agency Management Platform for life and health agencies. Schedule a demo to see why. 

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Posted by Allison Babberl on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 in Independent Insurance Agencies

  1. industry news
  2. open enrollment

About The Author

Allison Babberl

Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Ku ... read more