The baby boomers have been crossing the threshold of age 65. This means that the most populous generation the United States has ever produced is enrolling in Medicare. With these large numbers of new Medicare beneficiaries aging in to the nation’s original universal health care system, the opportunities to position yourself as the financial savior of American retirees have never been greater.
Here are some things you can do as an insurance professional to increase your sales to Medicare beneficiaries. These ideas are not meant to replace a thorough discussion of your client’s health insurance options, but to supplement those options with ways that can help your clients maintain a high quality and standard of life later in their lives.
The magic book to carry with you at all times is the 2015 Medicare & You guide. The size of the book varies, depending on where you live. In my region, it is 152 pages long. Of those 152 pages, 148 list what Medicare covers and four pages list what Medicare doesn’t cover.
Those four pages are your ticket to more sales. Every Medicare beneficiary has this book. If you can have them open up their book instead of using yours, the impact of what you are about to show them will be even greater.
Turn to page 62, “What is NOT covered by Part A and Part B.” Draw your clients’ attention to the first three points: dental, eyeglasses and dentures. I always have supplementary insurance available if a client asks me about these things. The health care-buying public is still accustomed to having these services offered as part of their health insurance. In fact, the public expects these services to be offered as part of their health plan. But if you are on Medicare, those services usually are not offered. So that can become a point of discussion and a part of your sales.
The last point on that page and the following three pages are the key to another insurance discussion: long-term care. The next page, “Paying for long-term care,” defines what Medicare will and will not cover. The information in the middle of page 63 is your ticket to a larger discussion — “Here are some of the different ways to pay for long-term care: 1. Long-term care insurance.” By an amazing coincidence, you are in a position to offer that very product! This is a product that the government, in its own book, will tell beneficiaries to consider if they have concerns about this need not being covered. There is no better way to gauge your clients’ interest than to show them that line from their own book.
It gets better. Many states’ insurance departments have separate Medicare shoppers’ guides available to order free or download from the Web. These shoppers’ guides tell the public that Medicare and most Medicare health plans do not cover long-term care. Some of these state guides also tell people to seek out long-term care insurance as an option. In a quick Internet search of 10 different states, I found only two that did not have a state-specific Medicare shoppers’ guide available for public download. If you are seeing clients and they mention this important lack of coverage as a concern, you know what your next discussion will be.
Please keep in mind that if you have to follow Scope of Appointment rules because of the product you intended to offer at the appointment on that day (usually a Medicare Advantage or a prescription drug plan), you can’t have ancillary or long-term care discussions on the same day that you are talking about the advantage plan or drug plan. You can gauge the interest of your prospects and clients, and return to them in a few days to see whether that interest is genuine.
Sometimes, the simplest tools available to you are the best. In this case, your best tool to open a conversation for additional sales is already in the hands of every Medicare beneficiary you see. If you know where to look, your key to uncovering important concerns and more sales may have been delivered to them, courtesy of the federal government, before you got to them.