What your small business clients really want from their health insurance carriers

COVID-19 left small business owners interacting with their insurance companies - and their brokers – differently

What your small business clients really want from their health insurance carriers

This article was provided by Cigna + Oscar.

In early 2020, COVID-19 changed life as we know it. Small businesses closed and then reopened with new safety procedures in place. Employees quit in the millions, forcing business owners to reexamine their staffing policies, salaries, and benefit packages. This was just the tip of the iceberg. More changes were yet to come, including financial constraints and a rapidly changing consumer market.

This sudden and dramatic shift left small business owners interacting with their insurance companies - and their brokers - differently and more frequently, often looking for a trusted resource for information. The end result: today’s small business owners have new, vitally important insurance needs.

Here, we’ve identified trends to know about before you meet with your small group clients and talk about their plan options for 2023:

1.  Small business owners want quality insurance that protects employees.

Most small business owners have personal connections with their employees. Over the past couple of years, they witnessed employees struggle mentally, physically or financially amid a pandemic and inflation. They have seen loved ones and employees get sick, and need urgent hospitalization. As a result, they understand the importance of health insurance and want to ensure their workers get good coverage.

In addition, many small business owners are competing against larger, more financially stable companies, especially when hiring. Because larger companies can usually offer their employees more robust benefit packages, small business owners feel pressure to offer health coverage that satisfies their own employees and attracts top workers.

Small group brokers are viewed as an extension of an owner’s team; as a trusted confidant, it’s important to present plans that are known to provide a good health insurance experience and have a history of leaving clients satisfied with their experience as members.

2. They want health insurance that’s flexible, and offers virtual care.

COVID-19 left many small business owners with unique challenges, including a possible recession, labor shortage, rising inflation and material costs, and new policies and procedures to implement. Employers were hit with sudden and unexpected changes, making them acutely aware of their need for flexibility.

That’s why there’s a growing demand among business owners for conveniences such as telemedicine services, virtual urgent care, and online prescription refills, for example.

In addition, employees working for small businesses now expect to manage their care at the click of a button, and if that’s not available, they may express dissatisfaction. That’s why many small business owners now seek health plans with flexible, digital capabilities. They want to keep their employees engaged, healthier, and most of all, satisfied.

3. There’s a greater need for online, self-service capabilities.

Over the past few years, consumers have learned to complete almost any task online—from leading meetings to shopping to furthering their education. When it comes to insurance, they expect to be able to pay premiums online, find digital information about their policies, and receive 24/7 customer chat support.

It’s critical for insurers to invest in online, self-service capabilities that help business owners manage their policies and lower costs. Digital tools should be easy-to-navigate, but human customer support should still be available for more complex questions. With providers like Cigna + Oscar, employees get their very own Care Team and small business owners get access to their own team of Business Guides too - so members have the full support they need to manage their health insurance account.

The bottom line: Many of today’s insurance companies are paying attention to new trends and staying nimble in the market. This means it’s easier for small business owners to find an insurer that can meet their needs—and those of their employees. Finding the right health insurance company is critical, and it can make a big impact on the health of a business.

Cigna + Oscar offers access to great doctors alongside a new model of supportive care and innovative technology — all at an affordable price. Visit https://www.hioscar.com/business/cigna to get appointed to sell Cigna + Oscar today.

Cigna + Oscar coverage is insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company. CA: benefits administered by Oscar Health Administrators. Other states: benefits administered by Oscar Management Corporation. Pharmacy benefits provided by Express Scripts, Inc. Cigna + Oscar health insurance contains exclusions and limitations. For complete details on product availability and coverage, please refer to your plan documents or contact a representative.

About Cigna + Oscar
Cigna + Oscar is designed to work for your client’s small businesses. We’re bringing together the power of Cigna's nationwide and local provider networks, and Oscar’s member-focused experience, to deliver small group health insurance that understands the unique needs of small businesses and their employees.


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