IGNITE BLOG

Helping Seniors Navigate the Complexities of Medicare

September 8, 2015
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As more than 75 million Baby Boomers “age in” to Medicare, agents can build loyalty by becoming trusted advisors.

The tide has turned and the Baby Boom generation has begun to retire. Defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as individuals born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are turning 65 at an astonishing rate of 3 million per year,1 and sending the number of Medicare applications skyrocketing.

This is creating a significant opportunity for insurance providers, and it’s not going to end anytime soon — it will be 2029 when the youngest Boomers turn 65. By understanding this lucrative demographic and the Medicare options open to them, agents can provide added value and create a reliable long-term revenue source.

Bridge the gap to meet seniors’ specific needs

There is a vast array of Medicare plans in the marketplace, and seniors aging into the system are looking for agents who can help them understand their options and point them toward the resources they need so they don’t have to try to search out the plan options by themselves. Everyone has a different comfort level with this type of research, and even the most tech-savvy Boomers find they need expert assistance. Here are some ways you can make Medicare decisions simpler and less confusing:

  • Become an expert. Obtain specialized training to fully understand Medicare so you can answer your clients’ questions and direct them toward the right programs.
  • Be available. A consultative approach often results in greater customer satisfaction. Facilitate in-person meetings for clients looking for individualized attention.
  • Create a one-stop shop for Medicare. Provide a single resource with all the information, research tools and specific advice your clients need to make the right insurance decisions.

In short, agents need to speak the language of Boomers and provide resources that they feel comfortable navigating.

Steer them away from the most common pitfalls of enrollment

Agents have the advantage of knowing the biggest Medicare enrollment mistakes made by consumers. Your knowledge and guidance can help make your clients’ experience smoother.

  • Get them signed up at the right time — For seniors aging into Medicare, the Initial Enrollment Period is based on their 65th birthday. To help them avoid long-term penalties from signing up too early or too late, make sure they know what steps they need to take, and when.
  • Be sure they know the difference between a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Advantage policy — Seniors new to Medicare need to choose either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan.2 There are big differences between the two, so help your clients understand the pros and cons of both types of coverage.
  • Take the guesswork out of picking a plan — Many consumers try to do their homework, comparing all the available plans, but often become overwhelmed or frustrated, and resort to making their best guess about which plan is best for them. Agents can help clarify things for their clients by asking questions about current insurance coverage, chronic conditions, preferred doctors and hospitals, and which prescriptions they need.
  • Show them how to apply for financial assistance — Billions of dollars are available to eligible seniors to help pay for prescriptions, insurance premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.2 For those with a modest retirement income, this can mean the difference between being able to afford adequate health care and having to cut corners.
  • Set up a schedule to re-evaluate your clients’ coverage on an annual basis —Many factors can change from year to year: insurance company policies, your clients’ health status and coverage for specific doctors and prescriptions. Ask each client if their current plan is meeting their needs and be ready with an alternative if it’s not.

Choosing the right Medicare plan is an important decision that can be complex and confusing for seniors, especially the first time through. Agents who provide a solid background of knowledge and a compassionate, personalized approach will be tapping into an endless revenue stream. Consumers will continue to age and retire — and they’ll need the guidance and experience of qualified agents.

 


 

Confidential. For Humana agent/agency use only. This material, including any subpart(s), is not to be used as marketing and is not to be provided to a prospect, an applicant, member, group, or the general public.

1. Hospitals & Health Networks – The Boomer Challenge

2. My Medicare Matters – The 6 Biggest Enrollment Mistakes Boomers Make

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