Brokers weigh in on the status of benefits technology in 2024

Group of employees wearing hard hats talking in a warehouse. Group of employees wearing hard hats talking in a warehouse. Group of employees wearing hard hats talking in a warehouse. Group of employees wearing hard hats talking in a warehouse.

Key takeaways

Optavise asked 70 U.S.-based health insurance brokers for their take on the status of benefits technology in 2024. Read to learn what they say about what’s in demand, challenges, the future of AI, and more.

The digital age we live in today has transformed employee benefits, both in how firms manage them and how employees engage with them.  An Optavise survey of 70 U.S.-based health insurance brokers reveals that brokers rate investing in cutting-edge technology a 3.59 out of 5 (important) in terms of helping their firms stay competitive in today’s market.

What’s in demand? How are brokers interacting with employers regarding technology? What challenges are brokers and employers facing? What role will AI play in the near future? Let’s dive into what our surveyed brokers reveal.

How do brokers rank benefits technology features?

Optavise asked our surveyed brokers to rank benefits technology features from most important to least, and here’s how it shakes out:

Ease of use


API/ 3rd party integrations


Client Support




Decision support


Single sign-on


Mobile app


ACA management


COBRA management


Language translation


These results show us that while benefits technology grows increasingly more complex and sophisticated, in the end users desire simplicity. Many people will consistently choose an easy-to-use product over a more robust product with a long feature list. Products with ease of use are more likely to be adopted by brokers and employers—and thereby provide a better return on investment.

It’s also interesting to compare 2024 results to 2023 results. API/3rd party integrations saw a 29% increase in score compared to 2023. Mobile app saw a 25% increase, language translation saw a 16% increase, and decision support saw a 15% increase. These sizable jumps give insight into benefits technology features that will be trending in 2024 and beyond.

How often are brokers recommending benefits administration technology to clients?

Many brokers strive to bring new and innovative solutions to clients, but just how often are they recommending benefits technology to employers? Our survey of brokers shows that the majority (53%) recommend benefits technology to clients on a yearly basis.

However, a growing number of brokers (22%) responded “Other” to this question, indicating that they recommend benefits technology to clients as needed or when asked.

This highlights the importance of brokers evaluating and advising employer clients on a regular basis—not just showing up annually to deliver a renewal. Healthcare, benefits, workplaces, and technology are constantly evolving, and brokers who check in frequently will build stronger relationships with employers and employees.

What are the biggest challenges when recommending a new benefits administration system?

When asked this question, brokers provided the following responses:

  • Cost 75%
  • Ongoing support 69%
  • Complex file feeds 61%
  • Implementation 59%
  • Administrative training 46%
  • Other 7%

These results are unsurprising, as the cost of benefits technology is a longstanding hangup that’s currently exacerbated by the economic climate. In an Optavise survey of employers, respondents say that cost is the biggest hurdle when it comes to benefits programs.

What role will artificial intelligence (AI) play in the benefits and health navigation space in the next three years?

AI is changing just about everything—and benefits and healthcare are no exception.  Although we’re in the very early days of understanding AI’s full potential in these spaces, it’s important to consider the possibilities and begin adapting to changes. Here’s what our surveyed brokers think about the role AI will play in the next three years:

While brokers acknowledge the important role AI will play in how they do their jobs, they don’t see AI replacing them anytime soon. As one respondent noted, “AI is a helper, not a replacement. It can help with supporting medical care, but not to replace medical care. It is helpful to use as education, but not a replacement for regular client interaction and events.”

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

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