a person reading articles about 2021 open enrollment on their smartphone

It’s safe to say 2021 was a pivotal year for health insurance Brokers across the United States. 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic made planning Group benefits for 2021 particularly challenging. Deadlines were extended, enrollment processes were adjusted and new trends in coverage emerged as Carriers and consumers navigated this revolutionary shift in healthcare protocol.

To help gain insight into the future of healthcare, we’ve rounded up some of our most popular blog posts to look back on what trends, questions and products gained traction among consumers and Brokers over the course of 2021:

How COVID-19 Affected Open Enrollment [Last] Year

Before we can dive too deep into 2021 health insurance trends, let’s take a look at how 2020 and COVID-19 affected the trajectory of this year’s open enrollment.

Last year, Brokers were forced to go virtual with online Group meetings and digital systems. This necessity for change kickstarted new and innovative ways to sell health insurance which continued to grow in popularity throughout 2021.

“Open enrollment looks a little different for Brokers this year. With continued uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, planning Group benefits for 2021 has been especially challenging. Many processes have gone virtual in an effort to practice social distancing and keep business moving… we outlined some of the primary ways COVID-19 has affected the 2021 open enrollment season.”

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Healthcare Trends - What Different Generations Expect Out of Their Policy

As a Broker, it’s important to understand generational healthcare trends so you can advocate for Employees and educate Groups on the benefit of a multigenerational approach to insurance.

 “As a health insurance Broker, you have undoubtably recognized that now, more than ever, different generations have different expectations and priorities when it comes to their healthcare. In 2016, the World Health Organization went so far as to identify a shift in healthcare coverage from the previous “What is the matter with the patient?” mindset to a more people-centered approach of “What matters to the patient?”

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Healthcare Trend: The Rise of Fertility Benefits

2021 saw a rise in demand for fertility and family planning benefits, as a growing number of Employees and Employers seek more flexible policy options.

Newer services like artificial insemination, embryo or egg freezing, medication to treat the cause of infertility and traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) are just a few of the fertility benefits more and more Employees are looking to be covered by their Employers.

“Demand for fertility benefits has been on the rise in recent years, as Millennials who make up the majority of the workforce are starting families. The trend will only continue; it is estimated that by 2025, Millennials will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce.”

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How Brokers Can Expand Sales by Offering Ancillary Products

Ancillary products, also referred to as supplementary insurance, offer a viable solution for Brokers and their Groups to fill the gaps in coverage health insurance alone does not cover. Without ancillary options, Groups may find themselves unable to attract and retain a multigenerational workforce.

“Offering health insurance alone is no longer enough for an Employer to attract, recruit and retain top talent for their organization. It also isn’t adequate coverage for today’s diverse workforce comprised of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.”

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 Want to learn more about Supplementary insurance? Head over to our Marketing Resource Center to download FormFire’s Guide to Supplemental Insurance.

Looking Forward: 2022 Healthcare Trends

As 2021 comes to a close, healthcare professionals and research institutes are beginning to set their sites on 2022 healthcare predictions.

According to PwC's Health Research Institute (HRI), medical healthcare costs are projected to return to pre-pandemic baselines with a predicted 6.5% benefits cost increase compared to the previous year. This is slightly lower than 2021’s 7% increase, which equated to a 1.3% increase in the cost to treat patients from 2019, assuming benefits remain the same.

Ideally, this downward trend following 2020 and 2021’s price spike indicates a “leveling out” after the persistent, unstable effects of the pandemic. However, only time will tell how COVID-19 will continue to shape the healthcare landscape.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with FormFire

At FormFire, we recognize the importance of staying at the forefront of healthcare news and trends. Our industry-leading health insurance quoting, sales and enrollment software helps Brokers, Carriers and Employers stay ahead of those changes. To find out how FormFire can streamline your quote to close process, contact us to set up a software demo.