Everything related to COVID is beginning to wind down, arguments over vaccine mandates notwithstanding. Students of history should recognize that the COVID pandemic has followed pretty closely the history of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918-1920. But as we leave this most recent pandemic in the rear-view mirror, it is hard to not recognize that life has changed. If you are an insurance broker, you know full well that your business is quite different.
Virtually nothing has been left unscathed by coronavirus. For insurance brokers, the pandemic has had an especially profound effect on health and life insurance policies. Not only do people look at health and life insurance differently, but employers also face new challenges as they look to offer sufficient benefits without bankrupting themselves.
How will things shake out? Only time will tell. For now, the best insurance brokers can do is stay abreast of market changes and help their clients get the best products they can. Those who do it well will be poised to succeed at whatever point we decide we have reached our new normal.
New Health Insurance Coverage
Among the many ways COVID has impacted health insurance is the realization that now there are new things that have to be covered. Health insurance companies either cover COVID-19 testing or risk the public’s ire. The same goes for COVID-19 treatments.
Testing and treatment is just the start. Some people will be left permanently impaired by the damage COVID-19 inflicts on them. Then there are those who will be negatively affected by vaccine side effects. All these things have to be considered as insurance companies figure out their coverage options for 2022 and beyond.
It’s a lot for insurance brokers to take in, explains Dallas-based BenefitMall. The one saving grace is that BenefitMall and other general agencies now offer insurance brokers digital portals that help them stay on top of what carriers are doing. At least that makes their lives easier.
Companies Dropping Health Insurance
As beneficial as an insurance portal is, it doesn’t change the fact that some companies will be forced to drop health insurance in the coming months and years. With costs going up, more and more companies won’t be able to afford coverage. Their only option will be to pay the federal ACA fine and turn their employees over to insurance exchanges.
Carriers and brokers will try valiantly to come up with affordable alternatives. Those alternatives will keep some companies hanging on a bit longer, but the solutions will not be permanent. Unless our system is changed from its very foundations, more companies are going to be priced out of affordable health insurance options.
Life Insurance a Luxury
It is inevitable that rising healthcare costs will force consumers to re-evaluate their finances. Those that want to continue paying for expensive health insurance are going to have to strike other things from the budget. That is where life-insurance comes in.
Life insurance will undoubtedly be seen as a luxury among some consumers already struggling to pay their health insurance premiums. And among older adults whose term policies expire, the only remaining option will be a cheaper final expenses policy; a policy that pays enough to bury them when they die but leaves little else after expenses are paid.
Unfortunately, the insurance picture doesn’t look so bright right now. Things will hopefully change at some point. For now, though, being an insurance broker in the post-COVID era is going to be challenging. Brokers are going to have to pull every rabbit out of the hat to find products their customers want and can afford.