Making the decision to be a health insurance agent is relatively easy. Deciding what type of product to sell? Now, that’s more difficult.
When you consider that approximately 10,000 people will turn 65 every day for the next 13 years, one thing becomes clear: it’s definitely worth your time to sell to the senior market.
If you’re a health insurance agent who’s not selling Medicare products, you should consider doing so. There are several advantages to working in the Medicare field. Let’s examine some of them.
You’ll Have a Steady Supply of Potential Clients
More and more people age into Medicare every day and it’s not a cycle that’s ending anytime soon. Why? After World War II ended in 1945, U.S. troops came home, settled down, and started having children… lots of children. Now, approximately 72 years later, the roughly 75 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are over the hill and reaching the age of retirement. And, since many employers have dropped their retiree health plans, a large amount of seniors will be looking within the private Medicare market for health insurance.
Still not convinced? Demographic data also supports this trend. In their analysis of the final birth data for 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that, while the total number of U.S. births has remained relatively constant, the number of children born per person has largely decreased in this country. And according to a 2015 Forbes.com article, by 2030, 20 percent of Americans will be eligible for Medicare — that’s an increase of seven percent compared to the 13 percent that are eligible today!
With the promise of thousands of people turning 65 every day, the senior market is, and will remain, plentiful with sales opportunities for quite a long time.
The Private Medicare Market Has Become Increasingly Popular Among Shoppers
In 1965, when the Medicare and Medicaid programs were established, Medicare was only administered by the government. Now, more than 30 percent of the 55 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in private health plans according to a 2015 article by the New York Times.
Over the past 50 years, private Medicare plans have become increasingly popular among shoppers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, between 2004 and 2015, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private Medicare plans has more than tripled — increasing from 5.3 million to 16.8 million. They also report that MA enrollment has increased by 50 percent since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite belief that the law’s payment reductions would cripple MA enrollment.
Statistics don’t lie — it’s evident that shoppers are interested in doing business within the private Medicare market, and that the time is ripe for agents to offer those plans.
Working with the Over-65 Crowd is a Rewarding Experience
For many people, turning 65 is not a highly anticipated event. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Besides being faced with lifestyle changes, financial planning, and legal worries, seniors must also try to find affordable health coverage that meets their needs. With dozens of MA and prescription drug plans available, this feat is often easier said than done on their own.
While modern tools and web services make the job easier for agents, they complicate matters for seniors who aren’t as web savvy. A 2014 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, revealed that many seniors feel frustrated and confused when they try to compare plans and that they desire the help of insurance agents.
By offering just a little expertise, you can help seniors stop spending their golden years worrying about their health care, while simultaneously financially providing for yourself. It’s a win-win scenario.
The Private Medicare Market is Built with Ethical Interests in Mind
It’s no secret that the marketing guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) can be challenging. However, the fact that the Medicare market is federally regulated should actually be considered a blessing.
CMS’ marketing guidelines clearly outline appropriate selling practices for agents. They also help hold agents accountable for selling in an ethical manner, a fact that’s valued by the seniors in your market.
Retired seniors must enroll in Medicare Part B and begin paying the premium or risk paying a late-enrollment penalty. What the private Medicare market does is fulfill that requirement while providing more extensive benefits.
Knowing what is available through Medicare Parts A and B lets you know what the senior market is left wanting. Offering private plans that fill those gaps and provide selection to seniors is what makes this market so worthwhile.
You Can Sell a Wide Array of Products
Agents working within the senior market have the ability to sell a variety products to their clients. Once they have the proper licenses, certifications, and contracts with carriers, agents can sell MA plans, MAPD plans, Special Needs Plans, stand-alone prescription drug plans, or Medicare Supplement plans to people turning 65 or those over 65. Moreover, they can also cross-sell additional coverage options, including hospital indemnity plans, cancer plans, life insurance, final expense insurance, and vision and dental insurance. Find out why selling hospital indemnity plans with MA plans is advantageous
There’s a lot of value in having the opportunity to double or triple your commission.
You’re Not Alone in Your Efforts
Over the past 50 years, there have been many advances in the market. As a result, selling Medicare is easier than ever before, especially with the help of Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs).
These organizations support agents by connecting them with the prospects and tools they need to improve their book of business. From lead programs to Medicare quote engines to customer relationship management systems, FMOs act as a go-between for agents and carriers so brokers’ jobs are as simple as possible.
Since the establishment of Medicare for America’s seniors, the health insurance market and the world have changed significantly. The promise of thousands of people turning 65 every day, seniors’ increasing interest in private Medicare plans, and societal advances in legislation and technology have resulted in the perfect market conditions for Medicare products. If you’re an agent who isn’t working in the Medicare field, take a moment to reconsider your sales strategy before you miss out on this great opportunity to secure a successful selling career.
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A modified version of this article was previously published in the December 2015 issue of California Broker Magazine.