In a year like no other, open enrollment 2021 is an enrollment like no other; and with it, the insurance industry has an opportunity to satisfy its clients in new ways.
As we experience pandemic fatigue, election fatigue, and economic shutdowns, customer behavior is changing by driving greater technological efficiencies.
(Related: Your Doctor Is Calling. Answ)er the Phone.)
While our clients still have insurance needs, the way they may arrive at their purchase may be changing.
In a recent Healthinsurance.com survey, 83% of respondents say they are happy with their current health insurance coverage, although 50% are exploring their options. For brokers and agents, this is great news — our clients value the products we sell. And since health insurance can be confusing, clients may rely more than ever on their brokers to help them navigate the waters.
Although working with clients in 2020 may look different than it has before with Zoom and FaceTime meetings, brokers and agents can still work with their clients by identifying their health care needs, evaluating the financial impact, and presenting the options that best fit their client.
Identifying Health Care Needs
Help your clients by identifying their health care needs. For someone who is dependent on regular prescriptions and medical care, or seeks a comprehensive plan, perhaps COBRA or an Affordable Care Act plan is the best option.
For those who need a short-term solution to cover an unexpected accident or illness, short-term medical of indemnity products may be a solution.
Indemnity products can also enhance a comprehensive plan, putting the dollars in the hands of your client to decide how to use their benefit —whether it is for helping to meet their deductible or covering household bills due to lost wages during a covered medical event.
Evaluate Financial Impacts
During the pandemic, approximately 27 million people are at risk for losing their jobs and their employer health insurance. With more economic shutdowns looming for the winter season, that number may increase. Losing employer coverage can be devastating during a health pandemic and purchasing an expensive plan while unemployed can cause significant concerns for a client.
While each client has a different financial outlook, it is important to review the financial options so that you can help your client determine which type of plan is best for their health and financial needs. Perhaps your client has a healthy savings account and is comfortable with a high-deductible plan. Or, if your client prefers to spread the cost of the course of the year, a low-deductible plan may help them manage their financial plan and budget.
Present The Options
During a pandemic, health insurance is more important than ever and your clients will appreciate your expertise to help them navigate this process. After evaluating your client’s health care and financial needs, it’s time for you to consider what plans are available in their local area. Let your clients know both the positives and potential negatives of each plan that is available so that they can make an informed decision. And remember to ask your clients what they do and do not like about their current health care plan so that you can help guide them to the right plan for their needs.
We are experiencing an open enrollment like no other; and during this time, your clients need your steady and sage advice. Take the time to identify their health care needs, evaluate the financial impact and present the options that best fit your clients.
Jan Dubauskas is vice president and senior counsel at Benefytt..