Brokers report 4 benefits package changes for 2024

Man in blue sweater with glasses looks down at paper in his hand while sitting at a desk working. Man in blue sweater with glasses looks down at paper in his hand while sitting at a desk working. Man in blue sweater with glasses looks down at paper in his hand while sitting at a desk working. Man in blue sweater with glasses looks down at paper in his hand while sitting at a desk working.

Key takeaways

Optavise surveyed 70 U.S.-based health insurance brokers to learn how benefits packages are changing in 2024 and beyond. Virtual care services, health care transparency services, supplemental/voluntary products, and mental health support are among top changes reported.

For brokers in the employee benefits space, staying on the cutting edge of what’s up and coming for benefits packages is crucial for business. An Optavise survey of 70 U.S.-based health insurance brokers reveals that brokers rate adding new, innovative services to meet market demand a 4.15 out of 5 (important) in terms of helping their firms stay competitive in today’s market.

Let’s explore four products and services that are changing benefits packages in 2024 and beyond.

1. Virtual care services

Among the services employer clients are requesting, virtual care services are in highest demand, with 81% of our surveyed brokers saying they’re experiencing moderate or high demand for virtual care services. Meanwhile, 56% of brokers say they already provide them.

Offering virtual care services provides many advantages to employers and employees. Virtual care gives employees more flexibility and helps them get care quickly and with less stress. It also helps employees save money, keep up with preventive care, and manage chronic conditions.

Employers want virtual care services because employee health impacts their bottom line. Healthier employees are less likely to call in sick and they help reduce presenteeism (lost productivity that occurs when employees aren’t fully functioning due to illness or injury). According to the CDC, preventable chronic conditions cost U.S. employers $36.4 billion a year.1

2. Healthcare transparency services

Over half (53%) of our surveyed brokers already offer healthcare transparency services, but 63% say they’re experiencing high or moderate demand for these services.

Healthcare transparency is the knowledge of how much healthcare is going to cost before receiving care, and providing employees access to a benefits advocacy service is one of the best ways to support this.

A benefits advocacy service is a team of experts who employees can call on for assistance with their benefits and healthcare. Advocates can help support healthcare transparency for employees by:

  • Comparing costs for tests and procedures
  • Helping employees shop around for care
  • Explaining how benefits cover physician visits, tests, procedures and medications
  • Finding in-network providers
  • Reviewing bills for accuracy
  • Helping employees save money on prescriptions

When a benefits advocate helps an employee understand costs and comparison shop for care, the employee can find the best value for their money. For example, an MRI ranges in cost from $324 to $7,300 in the United States, according to Optavise national research. With help from a benefits advocate, an employee can be empowered to choose from a $2,500 MRI at the hospital—or a $550 MRI at the clinic across the street.

3. Supplemental/voluntary products

In 2024, 73% of brokers see an increase in clients adding supplemental/voluntary products, compared to 64% in 2023. Here are the top products brokers say clients are adding:

Voluntary benefits like these offer employers an affordable way to help fill gaps in their core benefits. Employers can pay all, some or none of their employees’ voluntary benefit premiums, which are typically considered to be very affordable. And unlike major medical insurance, voluntary benefits pay cash benefits directly to employees, not to doctors and hospitals. This means employees can use the benefits for any need, such as medical bills or everyday living expenses.

4. Mental health support

When asked what benefits or services employers are most commonly considering adding to their total rewards packages, the top response at 59% is additional mental health support beyond what’s offered by their health insurance.

Depression, anxiety, and general stress don’t just impact the mental and physical wellbeing of employees. These mental health issues can also lead to an increase in sick days and loss of productivity in the workplace. In fact, mental health challenges result in more than $200 billion annually in healthcare utilization and lost work productivity.2

By offering an employee assistance program (EAP) or digital mental health solution, brokers and employers can help make it convenient and easy for employees to access the personalized, confidential mental healthcare they need.

Want more broker insight? Download our 2024 Benefits Broker Report.

Optavise is your benefits partner
Optavise is a trusted partner, guiding employers and their employees through healthcare choices including voluntary benefits, benefits administration, and year-round advocacy services that reduce costs and increase benefits engagement. 

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Workplace Health Promotion, June 2022.

2National Library of Medicine, The Impact of a Workforce Mental Health Program on Employer Medical Plan Spend: An Application of Cost Efficiency Measurement for Mental Health Care, 2023.