Executive Health Administration

Health Insurance Executives: Road to Success

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 21, 2017 10:06:00 AM / by Frank Farrar

master degree for health insurance executives

With the Trump administration taking over in January, there was little doubt that 2017 would challenge and bring uncertainty to the health insurance marketplace. 

So, how are health insurance companies responding? What strategic tactics are health insurance providers using to address market challenges?  What leadership skills are most effective for continued success?

As we approach the end of the year, many unanswered questions about the near- and long-term future for health insurance providers remain.

One thing is clear: In order for health insurance companies to compete and thrive, executive leadership must be visionary, intellectually agile, and adaptable. 

Health Insurance Issues 2017

Among the issues at the forefront for the health insurance industry, as observed by the Advisory Board, include:

1. Reducing the amount being spent on Medicaid beneficiaries

State legislators are changing benefits to lower cost; therefore, managed care organizations are transitioning into value-based care to cope with loss rates.  

2. Reduce employer spending

Across the country, employers are looking to health plans to reduce the amount of spending on employees’ healthcare.

3. The high price of drugs

High-priced brand name drugs and expensive generics both continue to take a financial toll on health plans. So far, working with a third-party pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) has been a tactic in addressing the problem – but not a solution.

4. The Individual Insurance Marketplace

The debates, or lack thereof, surrounding the implications of the senate health bill has created wide-spread uncertainty in the individual marketplace.

Strategic Health Insurance Tactics

The 2017 Health Insurance Outlook report, Greg Scoot, the Deloitte Consulting’s vice chairman and leader of its U.S. Health Plans division, suggested several tactics that health insurance companies should use to address market challenges:

Be Aware

Be aware of increasing consumer sensitivity to services and care arrangements as their out-of-pocket costs continue to rise.

Provide Personalized Interaction

Personalized interactions are important to consumers when dealing with insurance providers and health insurers. Consumers place a high value on ease of access to information and customer service.

Don't Fall Behind Technology

Harnessing big data and systems integrations may be critical in operating at peak efficiency. Some health plans still need major modernization of their legacy systems.

Promote Value

Promote value, raise quality and continue to transform in line with the industry mandate, especially with the phase-in of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

master degree for health insurance executives

Qualities of Leadership

According to the 2016 study, Addressing the Leadership Gap in Healthcarethe Center for Creative Leadership listed the five most important skills for leading a successful executive healthcare career:

The Ability to Lead Employees

The ability to lead employees in an industry where retention is a priority.


  • manage situations and cut through stress and frustration with grace 
  • achieve goals within limited time frames
  • support staff and budgets


Be straightforward and remain composed in an often stressful environment.

Management Skills

Display an aptitude for change management in a fast-moving, ever-changing industry.

Participation Management

  • encourage employee participation
  • welcome and value the opinions of others

Other Highly Valued Competencies

Decisiveness, being a “quick study”, and being ready to “do whatever it takes” to get something done.

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Topics: Health Plan, Health Insurance

Frank Farrar

Written by Frank Farrar

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