Outside of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), you may feel that your chances to engage with new clients are limited, but what if we said they’re not?

Just because you can’t enroll clients in Medicare Advantage plans during 10 months of the year doesn’t mean you can’t offer them another valuable form of coverage: critical illness insurance.

The concept of critical illness insurance is simple: it covers beneficiaries upon diagnosis of a critical illness. If your client develops cancer, or has a heart attack or stroke, their coverage kicks in and provides benefits in a lump sum or scheduled payments.

Offering your client a critical illness plan can cover an important need and let you prospect for clients for the fast-approaching AEP. Plus, critical illness coverage has become increasingly relevant of late. Why? Let’s take a look.

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What’s the Appeal?

Critical illness insurance has become exceedingly important because these type of illnesses have become so prevalent. According to the American Cancer Society, about half of all men and one-third of all women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. Additionally, the American Heart Association reports someone has a heart attack every 43 seconds.

These serious health problems require extended and intensive care, and ever increasingly, that care saves lives. From the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s, the trend of five-year relative survival rates among all internal cancers grew from 49 percent to 68 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Offering your client a critical illness plan can cover an important need and let you prospect for clients for the fast-approaching AEP.

But just because survival rates are rising, that doesn’t mean those individuals remain untouched by financial troubles. Health care spending is on the rise, and high-deductible plans mean beneficiaries are on the hook for high-cost services. A 2013 MetLife study found that out-of-pocket costs associated with a critical illness can be as high as $14,444, while a 2015 study performed by Google Consumer Survey found that 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account to cover a crisis. 21 percent don’t have a savings account at all. That’s a big gap that most Americans aren’t prepared to fill.

What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control reports more than 61 percent of costs associated with cancer were non-medical, indirect costs. That’s why the appeal of a critical illness plan is that it puts money in your client’s pocket to cover anything, medical or not.

What it Means for Brokers

When you consider the statistics above, it’s evident critical illness plans are growing more valuable by the day. But despite their growing significance, you may find that your clients or prospects are unaware they have these options. Presentation is as simple as having literature at the end of an appointment, and the facts are here.

Not only are critical illness plans important to your clients, they are the perfect product to have in your portfolio during lock-in.

Not only are these plans important to your clients, they are the perfect product to have in your portfolio during lock-in. By offering them, you can nurture the relationships you have with your current clients and prospect new clients who you can check in on when AEP returns.

If you want to be the agent clients come back to, include valuable ancillary products in your portfolio and keep selling all year long.