Guest blog by CoverRight
Guest blogs are written by contributors outside of HawkSoft. The author's views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of HawkSoft.
Property & Casualty agents play a crucial role in safeguarding their clients' assets and providing them with comprehensive coverage. However, there is an often-overlooked aspect that can greatly impact their clients' lives and financial well-being: Medicare health insurance.
With over 10,000 Americans retiring every day, understanding the importance of Medicare, its complexities, and the trustworthy role a P&C agent can have in their clients’ lives can help P&C agencies and agents ensure their clients are adequately protected, and extend the relationship of a trusted advisor.
In this article, we delve into why Medicare is a critical opportunity for P&C agents and how digital solutions can offer valuable support during the Medicare selection process.
In this article:
- Why Medicare represents a critical opportunity for P&C agents
- How Medicare guidance can help agents build deeper relationships
- How technology solutions can help with Medicare selection
Why Medicare represents a critical opportunity for P&C agents
The number of Americans age 65+ (the eligible age for Medicare) has almost tripled in the last 50 years and is projected to reach a staggering 73 million by 2030 (from 56 million in 2020). As P&C agents, this means that a significant proportion of your book likely falls into this demographic, presenting a unique opportunity to engage customers, demonstrate a level of expertise, and deepen client relationships.
Even if your clients are not yet 65 themselves, it’s a good bet that someone they care for will be impacted by the Medicare decision. After all, it’s a decision every person has to make in their lifetime, and 1 in 5 Americans are now a silent caregiver.
In particular, your clients or their loved ones face a number of challenges when they become Medicare eligible:
- Complex decision-making
Medicare is a complex system with multiple parts, plans, and enrollment periods. For your clients, it may be the first time they are receiving non-employer-sponsored health insurance and making an individual health insurance choice for themselves.
However, making informed decisions about coverage options, deductibles, premiums, and prescription drug plans requires some expertise and can cause anxiety or confusion for those navigating Medicare for the first time. In fact, 75% of future retirees wish they understood Medicare coverage better, according to a survey conducted by the Nationwide Retirement Institute. As the insurance advisor for your clients, P&C agents have an opportunity to help clients navigate this intricate landscape.
- Lifelong late enrollment penalties
63% of consumers incorrectly think Medicare is free after working and paying Social Security taxes for at least 10 years (Harris Poll 2018). This couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are there premiums, deductibles, and copays, but your clients can also face late enrollment penalties if they fail to enroll on time when they first become eligible.
These penalties are lifelong (up to 10% penalty for every 12-month period Medicare is delayed), resulting in higher premiums for the remainder of your clients’ lives. P&C agents can play a pivotal role in ensuring clients understand enrollment deadlines and guiding them to make informed decisions within the required timeframes.
- Increasing health expenses
Health cost inflation in the U.S. has traditionally run at 2 - 2.5 times that of US inflation. Increases to the cost of care have led to some staggering numbers across a full retirement period, with the latest projections estimating that the average cumulative healthcare costs for a 65-year-old couple retiring today is $662,156 lifetime healthcare costs.
8 out of 10 future retirees state that out-of-control health care costs are one of their top fears in retirement. This is unsurprising, considering that 53% of future retirees are unsure how to estimate annual health care costs in retirement.
How Medicare guidance can help agents build deeper relationships
As the insurance landscape and general macroeconomic environment continue to evolve, it's crucial for P&C agents to adapt and diversify their services. By offering Medicare services alongside their traditional offerings, P&C-focused agencies can unlock a range of benefits, from client retention and cross-selling opportunities to market expansion and increased revenue, including:
- Broader customer impact
Medicare doesn't only affect individuals nearing retirement age. It also impacts caregivers and the “sandwich” generation—individuals responsible for both their aging parents and their own families. By extending your agency’s expertise to cover Medicare, you can support a broader range of customers, enhancing their value proposition and solidifying client loyalty.
- Diversification of services
Expanding into Medicare allows you to broaden your service portfolio, offering comprehensive insurance solutions. As clients' needs evolve, they seek trusted advisors who can cater to all their insurance requirements. Becoming a one-stop shop positions agencies as comprehensive insurance providers, strengthening their client relationships and fostering long-term loyalty.
- Client retention and cross-selling
Assisting clients with their Medicare needs during their transition into retirement is a valuable opportunity for P&C agents to retain existing clients. By seamlessly addressing their changing insurance needs, agents can ensure that clients continue to trust them with their coverage, fostering ongoing relationships. Moreover, Medicare services create cross-selling opportunities for additional insurance products. Clients who require Medicare coverage are likely to have other insurance needs, such as life insurance, long-term care coverage, or annuities.
- Competitive advantage
In a market where specialization is common, offering Medicare services gives P&C agencies a competitive edge. Many insurance providers focus solely on one area, neglecting the needs of clients seeking comprehensive coverage. By being a one-stop solution for various insurance needs, P&C agents differentiate themselves and position their agency as a trusted advisor that can provide a holistic approach to insurance planning.
- Customer lifetime value
Assisting clients with Medicare can extend the relationship between P&C agents and their clients, resulting in increased customer lifetime value. By offering ongoing support and maintaining regular contact, agents can build stronger connections and become trusted partners in their clients' insurance journey.
How technology solutions can help with Medicare selection
So how can agencies expand into the Medicare market without spending valuable time and money? Technology solutions can help agencies easily manage Medicare opportunities. For example, CoverRight is a trusted Solution Partner of HawkSoft that delivers a digital-first concierge platform designed to empower retirees and their families to easily learn more about and navigate Medicare health insurance online.
CoverRight collaborates with a range of experienced insurance, banking, and healthcare provider partners nationwide to create new revenue opportunities through a digitally driven and personalized Medicare navigation and enrollment experience for personal lines clients. This includes:
- A co-branded, personalized experience for clients on the CoverRight platform
- Guided Medicare recommendations focused on delivering transparency and education
- Matching doctors and benefits for clients
- Pre-approved content and digital tools for the agency to use on their website, emails, and marketing campaigns
- Ability to schedule consultations with a dedicated, licensed Medicare advisor
CoverRight’s Agency Partner Program offers HawkSoft agencies the ability to cultivate a new revenue stream from their existing client portfolios while driving value back to their business. Agencies simply select their desired earning structure for qualified referrals, provide co-branded referral links to their customers to access the CoverRight platform, and start earning – all at no cost to the agency.
Increase your agency’s opportunities with Medicare
Many individuals approaching Medicare age find themselves in a confusing situation. They may need help, but don't know who to trust. P&C agents, known for their expertise and trusted relationships with clients, can step in and provide reliable guidance, ensuring their clients' interests are protected.
By proactively addressing their clients' Medicare concerns and offering comprehensive solutions, P&C agents can solidify their role as trusted advisors during this pivotal life stage. Furthermore, with 10,000 people retiring every single day, P&C agents can capture a share of the lucrative and expanding Medicare segment. This expansion not only drives revenue growth, but also positions your agency as a go-to resource for all insurance needs, establishing a strong competitive advantage for your agency.
Help clients navigate Medicare with CoverRight's concierge service
Provide a personalized digital Medicare navigation and enrollment experience for your clients through CoverRight. Onboarding is simple, and the service is 100% free for HawkSoft agencies.