Robert Bache (aka “Medicare Bob”) is VP of Health at AmeriLife, and Founder of Senior Healthcare Direct.
Every wealth client faces the same challenge: balancing their investments with their health insurance. As a person nears retirement, making decisions about Medicare and their healthcare plan is a must—no matter their income level.
This is the Medicare problem every wealth professional must solve. If they don’t have the proper avenue to fulfill their clients’ needs, they’re exposing themselves and their customers to unnecessary risk. A trusted expert in the field has always been the support my teams have leaned on to serve the comprehensive needs of our customers.
The Risks: Lost Opportunities And Managed Wealth
Without a holistic sales approach, health and wealth management professionals lose the opportunity to build relationships within the industry, leaving their books of business in jeopardy. Another advisor may already have a solution in place for the Medicare problem. Without a plan, an otherwise successful wealth professional could lose a significant portion of the wealth they manage.
A wealth client in search of healthcare solutions during their retirement planning process will need a knowledgeable Medicare specialist. Without one, they risk overpaying for their healthcare plan or facing higher out-of-pocket expenses. This, of course, can affect their bottom line, as well as their health in the long run.
Health and wealth are intertwined in all our lives. Anyone in the business of servicing an investor’s wealth should always be equipped with a solution for their health.
Partnering With Specialists
Some wealth professionals take it upon themselves to get licensed and appointed to sell Medicare. Independent advisors may work better this way, in a more linear fashion. However, they could spread someone too thin, leaving them unable to properly fulfill their client’s needs on both the health and wealth side of the business. Instead, if they have the budget, they may hire an expert in the field, a licensed Medicare sales agent to work out of their office, directly and only for them.
Sometimes, wealth professionals choose to work with a referral partner. It’s an individual or entity that they trust, with a signed agreement ensuring a mutual alliance. By leveraging the network of a referral partner, they can gain access to more resources, increased visibility and a better chance at success.
What Makes A Good Referral Partner?
As a third party, a referral partner should act on behalf of the wealth professional. They’re an extension of the agreement the client makes with their wealth manager, and everyone should all work together toward the same goal: ensuring the client’s needs are met.
Finding the perfect referral partner can be a challenge. In order to vet them out and find the right partnership, first be sure they represent the right plans and products. You may want to consider someone who is specialized in Medicare, independent and represents Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Part D plans. Ensure the individual is licensed and appointed with all carriers.
When looking for a referral partner, find out important details like:
• How many clients do they have? Is their book of business comparable to yours in order for it to be a mutually beneficial relationship?
• How long have they been in the business? Have they been around long enough to earn a name for themselves and respect in the business?
• How much do they know about Medicare? Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Prepare ahead by searching for some of the more obscure Medicare terms.
Partners should operate on the same wavelength, spending enough time working together that they’re able to develop a cohesive message. They can establish regular checkpoints for relationship-building activities, like meeting for coffee or a video chat happy hour, all with the goal of developing a solid rapport and profitable business strategy.
Agreeing To A Holistic Approach
As important as it is to ensure the partnership works on a personal level, it’s just as crucial to create a working business agreement. So, what should that look like? A referral agreement between wealth and health professionals will always state that they must never cross-sell any products. They should refer to the other individual as a trusted partner, never selling client information nor passing along as a referral to any other sources.
As a partner licensed to sell Medicare, the agent should be able to provide data from their clients and updates on their health choices—like a preferred plan and implications to their portfolio.
The information gathered from referral partners on the health side will support the sale of important products for the wealth professional—like life insurance, long-term care or disability insurance. As 10,000 baby boomers per day reach the Medicare enrollment age of 65, they’ll find themselves in need of products like these to protect their retirement income. Seven in 10 Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives, and as of 2021 only 14% of people in this country have disability insurance. The need is there, and we can work together to service that need.
A person’s wealth planning and health planning for the future go hand in hand as they imagine how their life will look in retirement and beyond. A holistic sales approach requires you to exhaust all avenues to help customers solve the big problems, navigating their golden years with security and confidence.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.