By 2030, the 65+ population in the United States is projected to swell to 72 million. In the coming years, this will open up opportunities for agents to engage and educate potential clients, especially baby boomers, about senior health care options.
Today’s oldest boomers, now age 63, will start assessing these options fairly soon. In helping them perform a comprehensive analysis, agents should first recall this generation’s overall demographics and its key attitudes relative to health and wealth.
o Half or more of boomers will be at risk of being unable to maintain their standard of living in retirement, with rising health care costs a major reason, say many financial industry and government reports.
o Boomers have a different set of health care expectations than previous generations. For instance, boomers expect to be healthy, stay healthy, and get “fixed” when they are “broken.” They’re already visiting doctors more often and using more prescription medications than their forebears.
o Boomers, overall, have worse health conditions than their parents, with work and diet being major contributing factors to heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
o Baby boomers are widely reported to be comfortable with technology. They are Internet savvy and will increasingly be comfortable with self-service functions.
o Boomers are willing to do their own research on health issues and medical conditions, and many challenge their health professionals concerning diagnoses and treatment approaches.
o Boomers expect, and demand, high service levels, flexible products that are personalized or customized, and clinical excellence, with no limits to getting the quality health care that they want or need.
Putting it all together, boomers will want choices in health care coverage–flexible, personalized choices that can change as individual health care needs change.
Many seniors who are new to Medicare are choosing supplemental health insurance plans because the plans offer protection from variable and potentially high annual out-of-pocket costs associated with some Medicare options, and to eliminate the confusion and hassle of handling complex medical bills.
Boomers, who are already high users of health care resources, will be even savvier when it comes to researching and understanding the fixed-versus-variable nature of Medicare offerings. Expect them to “get” the “pay me now or pay me later” differences between such offers.
Agents serving this educated, stay-healthy, fix-me-up generation will need to understand the various Medicare plans, so they can help select the best-suited plan.