Health Highlights: Q4 2022

Posted by The Jacobson Group

The health insurance industry continues to evolve, as insurers strive to best meet changing member needs and provide a holistic member experience. Now, as many health plans aim to grow their Medicare Advantage business, the ability to effectively deliver on these initiatives has become a key differentiator. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are 3,998 Medicare Advantage plans available for the 2023 enrollment period. On average, a Medicare beneficiary can choose from 43 Medicare Advantage plans, compared to just 20 plans five years ago.

As Medicare Advantage open enrollment approaches, insurers are working to stand out in a highly competitive market. Our team is ingrained within the health insurance space and has frequent conversations with industry leaders about their current areas of focus. Here are a few considerations and trends of note:

Q422Health Highlights-01Increased Innovation
Currently, 45% of seniors enrolled in Medicare are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and that percentage is expected to increase to more than 50% by 2025. There’s an opportunity for health plans to gain market share, making it important to be progressive and creative within all areas of the business. This has led many health plans to prioritize innovative technology and solutions to attract and retain an increasingly complex and diverse population, while also enhancing member satisfaction and encouraging preventive care throughout members’ entire healthcare journeys. In turn, reaching these goals has a positive impact on multiple key success indicators, such as NPS and HEDIS.

We’re seeing a lot of focus on technology, analytics and marketing roles, as health plans determine how to best integrate data and create a personalized experience, while effectively communicating with their members’ caregivers, doctors and family members. Offering the right tools, including intuitive apps, online portals and streamlined communication platforms is essential. Individuals are assessing how they feel at each touchpoint and won’t hesitate to move on if they feel their needs can be better met elsewhere.

Tight Labor Market
The insurance industry’s unemployment rate is just 1.5% and our recent Q3 2022 Insurance Labor Market Study found 61% of life/health insurers are planning to add staff in the coming months. However, there is limited available talent within the health insurance space, often hindering insurers from meeting their hiring goals. Given that individuals with Medicare Advantage experience are highly sought after across all functional areas, these broader hiring challenges are further compounded.

Q422Health Highlights-03
Health insurers must adapt their approach to recruiting to stand out from their competitors. This includes revamping position descriptions to resonate with a broad audience and highlighting the organization’s unique attributes. Additionally, recruiting for transferable skills and potential over specific technical experience is critical for expanding talent pools and remaining future-focused. Today’s accelerated pace of hiring has made it essential to quickly understand what a candidate values and efficiently communicates how the organization can meet their needs and contribute to their longer-term goals. Along with competitive compensation, flexibility remains key for most candidates, even as some insurers bring employees back into the office.

Q422Health Highlights-02Emphasis on Employee Retention and Growth
At the same time, the reshuffling of talent continues and managers must be proactive and intentional in retaining their current workforce. An organization’s employees are its competitors’ candidates and are likely being actively recruited in the current climate. Increased regulations, pricing transparency, burnout and abundant job opportunities can all contribute to disengagement, making it necessary for managers to have candid retention and professional development conversations with their employees.

By taking an intentional approach to employee retention, insurers can uncover individuals’ goals and motivators, better aligning rewards and longer-term career progression. If possible, providing additional training on emotional intelligence and management skills can help grow future leaders from within. This also provides plans with the opportunity to uncover areas where outside talent or project teams may be needed.

Q422Health Highlights-04Comprehensive Data and Creative Analytics
Not surprisingly, technology roles are the most in demand of all functional areas, according to our Q3 2022 Insurance Labor Market Study. However, life/health insurers also consider technology positions the most challenging to fill. In fact, recruiting difficulty for technology within life/health hit its highest level in our study’s history.

Health plans have access to more comprehensive data points than ever before. Having the right talent in place to capture, interpret and strategically leverage this information is vital. This extends from understanding members and their needs when they call in, to identifying emerging health trends and capturing broad information about external factors that may impact a population’s health.

In the highly competitive Medicare Advantage market, the right talent enables you to lay the foundation for ongoing success. Effectively recruiting and retaining these individuals can lead to a seamless, holistic and innovative member experience, helping plans stand out among an increasing number of options.