I was doing business planning with one of my coaching clients and was surprised (shocked?) he didn't want to address asset management or life insurance for his client base. He said all he really focuses on was Medicare supplement insurance and final expense policies. I was sure that his clients still needed to address financial issues in addition to Medicare and he said he was just fine letting other professionals handle those needs because he was simply too busy. Do you know why he was "too busy?" Because he was bringing in more than 200 new clients a year!
I asked myself why other advisors weren't using this approach and the only thing I could think of is they really weren't trained about it. I work with many clients from many firms and generally advisors have a third-party company that they can become associated with and sell Medicare supplement insurance. However, if a client doesn't ask for it specifically most advisors don't address this critical need. In this article I'll review the facts about the senior market and more to the point, a few things every advisor should know about Medicare, and finally how to bring in new clients by adding Medicare supplement offerings to your practice.
Did you know that 70% of the wealth in the U.S. is controlled by people ages 55 and older?
A study conducted by UnitedHealthcare's Senior Horizons found that nearly seven out of 10 seniors (69%) expressed concerns about their health and wellbeing, a larger percentage than expressed concern about other categories such as personal finance (52%), often considered a top source of anxiety among older Americans. Spiritual well-being came in at 58% and receiving adequate care in old age was 56%.
Did you know that the 2009 Senior Census discovered that the top 10 concerns of seniors were:
1. Losing Our Health
2. Inability to Care for Ourselves
3. Losing Our Mental Abilities
4. Running Out Of Money
7. Becoming a Family Burden
8. Ending Up In a Nursing Home
6. Not Being Able To Drive
5. Inability to Get Good Healthcare
9. Inability to Work or Volunteer
10. Being Left Alone & Lonely
Now when I ask advisors these same questions they generally say running out of money is a senior's top concern. My best advice is to survey your own clients, simply take the above 10 items in random order. Then ask your clients 55 and older to number their priorities from one to 10. Be prepared for what you learn because you will need to address these issues once you have discovered them.
Now, how important do you think Medicare is in addressing these issues? It's very important! How prepared are you to discuss these important issues? How prepared are your competitors?
I am guessing you have a potential competitive advantage by learning to address clients concerns about Medicare. So, where should you begin?
If you think Medicare covers all of a person's medical expenses you are mistaken.
Below are some examples of what Medicare doesn't pay for:
24-hour-a-day care at home
Meals delivered to your home
Homemaker services like shopping, cleaning, and laundry when this is the only care you need, and when these services aren't related to your plan of care
Personal care given by home health aides like bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom when this is the only care you need
20% of the Medicare-approved amount for Medicare-covered medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. And, if you think all doctors accept Medicare you are also mistaken. The number of doctors accepting new Medicare patients has been steadily declining because federal health insurance pays less than what private insurance pays.
With the passage of the U.S. Affordable Care Act Medicare even less money is available to pay medical expenses:
Now you can see why health care is a major concern among seniors and why there is such an opportunity for an advisor who learns to help these potential clients.
All firms offer the same Medicare coverage because it is regulated by the government. Medicare part A is for hospital insurance, part B is medical insurance for doctor visits, part C is Medicare Advantage which has an additional cost and is more like an HMO, and part D is for drugs. Finally there is Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance which is a policy to cover expenses that Medicare doesn't cover.
Are you a little confused? Well, if you don't understand this how do you think your clients and potential prospects feel?
Now, let's discuss how being able to help seniors solve their healthcare problems can help you market your business. If I were to search within 100 mile radius of your office how many competitors would be able to have an intelligent discussion with a potential client about Medicare in the context of his or her personal financial situation?
Let's face it; if a senior gets hit with uncovered medical expenses it will affect his or her savings and investments. And, it's possible that the senior's savings and investments can impact the type of Medicare coverage he or she should choose. Do seniors in your area have all of the information they need regarding the risks to making a Medicare decision today? The government isn't really set up to provide advice. A call center at an 800 number doesn't know the client's situation and a doctor provides medical advice, not financial advice. Who can the client count on?
Well, if you can't answer the above question that means you have a GIANT opportunity to become an expert on Medicare. You may not acquire 200 clients a year, but I can't think of why you shouldn't acquire at least 20. Just remember, you help solve the Medicare issue first, establish trust, and then deepen the relationship to solve the other issues like long term care, life insurance, and retirement and investment planning.
You have a great opportunity to create competitive advantage in the senior market by learning to solve Medicare problems and offering Medicare supplement insurance.
While I can't cover every related issue, I can offer a supplemental video you can access for free if you send me an email at the address below.
Todd Colbeck is principal and founder of the Colbeck
Consulting Group, a subsidiary of General Business Center, Inc.
You can reach him at this address.