Benefits brokers are independent agents or brokerage owners who work with employers to provide benefits packages to their workers. When a benefits broker starts talking about things like health insurance and dental plans, it is almost always in the context of group benefits. But there is another market that’s now heating up for brokers across the country: the senior market.
Seniors represent one of the most underserved markets in the benefits arena. But according to Dallas-based BenefitMall, this is changing. Brokers and general agencies are quickly coming to understand that seniors have unique needs they can meet. It’s all about the changing environment seniors now live in.
1. Seniors Working Longer
A big consideration for brokers is the fact that seniors are working longer. Retirement age is no longer a hard-and-fast sixty-five. That’s due to a couple of things: the Social Security age being raised and retirees wanting to stay busy after concluding their primary careers.
It is no longer unusual to see people working well into their seventies. That means a senior who retires from their primary career at sixty-five and then works for another ten years at a different job could still have access to benefits.
2. Growing Medicare Shortfalls
Another consideration for the senior market is the growing Medicare shortfalls. Experienced brokers know that Medicare is administered in four parts. Only Parts A and B are offered ‘free of charge’ as a benefit of seniors paying into the system. The remaining parts are covered by supplemental insurance seniors pay for out of their own pockets.
Parts C, and D represent a golden opportunity for brokers to work with seniors to find the best possible coverage. For those seniors still working, the extra coverage can often be rolled into a group benefits package designed around a company’s older workforce. That gives brokers additional opportunities to work with employers on enhancing their group plans.
3. More Than Just Health Insurance
Rounding out the emerging senior market is a desire for more than just health insurance benefits. Seniors want standard health insurance along with prescription, dental, and vision plans. But that’s not all.
BenefitMall says growing numbers of seniors are also looking at options designed to protect their assets. They are looking at things like life insurance and investment opportunities. These are all things brokers can look at along with their general agencies and carriers.
4. The World Is Changing
There is little doubt that the world is changing for seniors. Many are working longer because they want to stay busy. Some are working longer because they have to. Furthermore, advances in healthcare, drugs, and medical procedures have people living longer than ever before. This only further enhances the need for comprehensive benefits among the senior market.
The trick for brokers and general agencies is coming up with the right package. Serving the senior market can be more challenging due to the whole Medicare thing. But a skilled broker with the right products to choose from can put together tailor-made packages that serve individual needs.
Brokers should come to terms with the fact that the senior market will be strong for the foreseeable future. With the baby boomer generation now starting to retire, those who decide not to start a second career will be relying more heavily on Medicare and their own cash reserves. Those who do go on to take new jobs may want access to group plans offered by their employers.
At any rate, the market will be there. Now is the time for brokers and general agencies to start developing plans to better serve that market.