3 reasons why your clients need you to provide them with health insurance advice
During my 26 years in the Medicare industry, I have met with thousands of financial advisors to discuss the Medicare desirability and what I believe is Medicare’s important place in a holistic financial plan.
Some advisers are intrigued by the potential – not just the financial potential, but the potential that lies in their ability to differentiate themselves in the market. But, to my dismay, many advisors only see the impact (or lack thereof) on them rather than looking at the benefits to clients.
Here’s what these advisors tell me:
â¢ Medicare is a distraction from my main financial planning activity.
â¢ The gain potential is too low.
â¢ The workload is too heavy to balance.
I sympathize with these concerns. I have known each of them at different times in my career. I know these concerns have often provided me with easy ways to rationalize the fact that the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.
But I want to challenge your thinking about whether Medicare should be in your bag. I think there are many reasons why your clients should have someone who already knows their life goals to help them make one of the most complicated decisions they will ever have to make.
Let’s take a look at three main reasons your clients need your help with Medicare.
1. Customers don’t want to trust someone new. How many people does an individual really trust? Some members of their family. A friend or two. And a small number of professionals who help them make the big decisions in life.
Medicare is an important decision. Numerous studies have shown how much money people leave on the table when they don’t turn to a Medicare expert for advice. In most cases, your customers are the only ones who find that expert they can trust. Don’t you think many of your clients would like to have their trusted financial advisor on their side with this decision?
2. Clients just don’t understand health care. And they don’t want to understand it either. They want to be in a system that looks out for their interests. If you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on for about 90 days free for whatever they call the Annual Enrollment Period and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, then you probably know a bit more about what the. General George Armstrong Custer felt at Little Big Horn. There aren’t many times in a person’s life when they are faced with such a big decision as choosing their health insurance coverage.
3. Customers are petrified, they will outlive their money. This is still one of the top two or three concerns of older customers. The thought that this might happen to them influences a wide range of life decisions, with healthcare being an obvious decision with high impact. Customers need someone to lean on, which brings us back to reason # 1.
The Medicare decision-making process is worth mentioning. Never before have we seen the opportunity for people to be duped and confused. Digital marketing experts say we see between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day. This does not include all social media posts that steal our time. I imagine the average Medicare beneficiary during the open enrollment season feels a bit like a javelin catcher at a track and field competition.
People make decisions based on their values ââ(see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Values âârarely change over the course of a lifetime. This should be heartwarming for those of us who work in financial services.
But the behaviors – now it’s a different animal. Almost 10,000 ad impressions per day impact business decisions. People will make decisions that they know are wrong. It’s their values ââthat speak to them, but they do it anyway.
When it comes to Medicare, your customers shouldn’t be left on their own to decipher the thousands of Medicare-related messages they see, hear and read.
The solution: it’s not about Medicare; it’s about delivering a truly holistic planning experience.
It’s not just about adding Medicare to your practice. It’s about how you can use your holistic financial planning process to help your clients better manage healthcare risks. The logistics required will vary depending on the solution you choose to provide to your customers.
There are three common ways financial advisors can implement Medicare solutions in their practice.
1. Go all out and take full advantage of Medicare. This is the most time consuming option, requiring a health license, certification, and annual testing. It is also the most lucrative from the point of view of full ownership of your business book as an official agent.
2. Hire a Medicare specialist in your office. This is the most common solution I have seen because it allows a counselor to offer Medicare capability without trying to be everything to everyone.
3. Refer to a third party. Using a third party is similar to hiring a Medicare specialist in your office, but it traditionally lacks the personal commitment that comes with a dedicated resource in the office.
Making the right decision among these three things should be based on building long term relationships with customers. Any of these three will work fine. You have to decide what is best for your customers.
Communicate health insurance to your clients and use it to grow your practice
People like to do business with those they know and trust. Nailing the customer experience flawless every time will help you accomplish two essential things:
1. Open the doors to know your target prospects better through referrals.
2. Build unchallenged trust with all of your customers and prospects.
Do both of these things and you’ll be on your way to delivering a great customer experience.
President Woodrow Wilson is credited with this saying: âBe brief, be bright and go. “
Keeping it simple in the context of the larger financial planning process makes this much easier to ingest and adopt as a new habit.
1. Be brief. Approach healthcare risk for what it is: a major concern and a financial risk to your retired clients.
2. Be brilliant. Inform clients of the basic decisions they will face each year and the best practices they should adopt regarding Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans. Be brilliant at the basics.
3. Leave. Provide an enrollment resource or solution, then get back to what you know how to do while closely managing your support resource team.