The headwinds that rocked health insurers throughout 2021 persist unabated as 2022 nears. As the calendar year approaches its terminus, insurers must remain nimble, deliver on their brand promise, and address immediate competitive threats as legislative requirements loom.

In 2021, a plurality of trends emerged for healthcare insurers:

Insurers are homing in on measuring and evoking trust from members. Health insurers continue to evolve as wellness companies, but member trust remains elusive. In 2021, 59% of consumers reported trusting their insurer to do what’s best for its consumers, according to Forrester Analytics survey data. Insurers can build trust, and facilitate long-term consumer health, by expanding their advocacy role, simplifying experiences, implementing inclusive design, and anticipating consumer needs.

Disruption looms as some insurers get removed from the equation. Direct-to-consumer models are picking up speed as nontraditional competitors, such as Amazon CareTranscarent, and Walmart, enter the fray, challenge the status quo, and create an existential crisis for insurers. To remain competitive, insurers must double down on member experience, usability, price transparency, and experiment with new products (like virtual-first primary care) while balancing potential legislative changes.

Lack of modernization is forcing insurers into partnerships with frenemies. Hybrid and digital-native platforms, such as +Oscar, are increasingly attractive investment and partnership opportunities for insurers attempting to accelerate IT modernization efforts. Hampered by interoperability and real-time data limitations, legacy insurers attempting to digitize customer journeys and provide innovative member experiences are partnering with insurtech groups and investing in enterprise health clouds.

The stakes remain high for 2022 as the side effects of COVID-19 and shifting sands of the competitive landscape push health insurers to practice agility and responsiveness. Being informed and getting in front of the most critical trends provides a much-needed injection to fuel success in the year ahead.

Learn more about the prevailing trends in the healthcare insurance space in our report, The Top Trends For Healthcare Insurers, 2021. Read the report for more information on the drivers of change and how health insurance leaders should respond. If you have additional questions, book an inquiry here.