Oh, to be 20 and single with the naive belief that you are invincible and will live forever. Single and 35 — that used to be unusual. Single and 40 was a rare occurrence.

Today, however, as people stay single longer, we insurance professionals must find new ways of impressing upon our potential clients the risk of going without health insurance.

We must find new strategies for moving these clients to action, and show them why they should spend their hard-earned money on a product for which they may not find much day-to-day use when they are healthy. After all, they don’t have wives, husbands, or children to protect in the case of financial insecurity due to an illness or other diagnosis.

So how do you impress upon them the need for and the value of having health insurance?

#1: Sell the parents
If your prospect is in their 20s, possibly a recent college graduate, you might be lucky enough to have their parents to help you make the sale. Quite often, parents of a young and single prospect will be shopping — and, in some cases, even paying — for their offspring’s health insurance.

#2: Sell the alternative benefits
If your carrier offers a wellness program, as some do, you can use it as a tool to create value for the single buyer. Acupuncture, gym memberships, vitamins, massage, and other alternative therapies can be very attractive to the young demographic. Show them how their gym membership can be paid for at the same time they are protecting themselves from a catastrophic illness, and you will be one step closer to a sale.

#3: Sell the concept of insuring their insurability
In New York — which has a 12-month waiting period for those without credible coverage — obtaining the most basic, inexpensive major medical plan ensures that pre-existing condition limitations come into play. Having even an inexpensive policy might mean not having to worry that you will develop a condition and have it excluded by a carrier.

#4: Let them sell themselves
We all know that the client should do most of the talking. Get them to think and respond by asking pointed, thought-provoking, emotional questions, such as: What would you do if you were uninsured and suffered a devastating automobile or skiing accident or developed a chronic illness? How would it affect you financially if you had to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to stay alive? How would it affect your family if you didn’t have the ability to pay? Stop and wait for the answer.

Let the client tell you how they would feel and how it would impact them and their family personally and emotionally. Any potential client only believes a small percentage of what you, the “salesperson,” tell them. However, the client believes 100 percent of what they say themselves. Thus, if the words come from the client’s mouth, they have internalized the concept and likely bought into it.

#5: Sell the high-deductible options
Another strategy that I have found to be beneficial with singles is to emphasize high-deductible products with lower premiums. Since healthy singles tend not to visit the doctor too often, these can be the perfect plans for them.

All too many singles buy into the concept of the limited benefit indemnity plan. Although some insurance is better than no insurance, a limited benefit plan offering $250 or $500-per-day hospital benefits is of little use when you are sick and not working. As the average hospital room and board now costs thousands of dollars per day, the sicker your clients become, the greater the financial burden.

A much better strategy is to offer single clients a high-deductible product; even if that deductible is $5,000 or $10,000, the client knows the maximum exposure. Although most limited benefit plans will pay for some routine medical expenses, the client would be much better off having the exposure and expense of their own routine expenses knowing that catastrophic occurrences and chronic conditions will be covered.

By implementing these five strategies, you will be engaged in the most important task that an insurance producer can be — helping their clients. By helping today’s single population see the risk of being uninsured, they will be more likely to think of you as they move on in life, getting married, having children, and running businesses with employees who all need health insurance, as well.

William H. Friedman is senior vice president of direct sales for Atlantis Health Plan. He can be reached at 718-440-0722 or wfriedman@atlantishp.com.