It happens every single year, and yet we never see it coming until it does. You guessed it: birthdays. Obviously, that will always remain the same. Growing older helps in selling insurance, at least! However, what is changing is how folks are living and working past 65.
What are independent insurance agents selling Medicare to do with the growing number of their clients working past 65, the big landmark?
Traditionally, the vast, majority retired with benefits on the way. While the milestone birthday still marks Medicare eligibility, it’s no longer the marker for full benefits with Social Security retirement. For those born in 1955 (and turning 65 next year), the full-benefit retirement age is 66 years and two months; this age will slowly increase to 67 for those born in or after 1960.
By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 36 percent of the U.S. workforce will include 65 to 69 year olds. How are you preparing for this demographic shift to better serve your clients?
Answering Questions About Medicare While Still Working
Your client has options if they’re receiving coverage from their employer, who has 20+ employees. Check out what this may look like with Medicare.gov. They don’t have to switch to Medicare – they could, but it may not be worth their wallet since their employer coverage would be the primary payer. Part B may not be advisable, but if they qualify for premium-free Part A, they should consider enrolling in that.
On the other hand, your client’s employer may require them (and their spouse, if applicable) to switch to Medicare if their company has fewer than 20 employees. If this happens, Medicare will likely act as the primary payer and the employer plan will pay secondary.
Helping Those Who “Un-Retire” Back into the Workforce
A growing trend as well, if your Medicare beneficiary “un-retires” they will have to discern whether or not to remain on Medicare or to receive their employer coverage if that is an option, or both. You and your clients should be aware: if they decide to unenroll from Medicare Part B when they (or their spouse) rejoin the workforce, they may have to pay a penalty if they re-enroll in it later on. (One exception: if they get a Special Enrollment Period to join Medicare Part B after their employer coverage ends.)
Again, late enrollment or re-enrollment penalties may exist. If your clients don’t know something, then they don’t know something. Be their advocate and educator. Whether or not someone incurs a penalty depends on their unique situation — mainly whether they have employer coverage and what kind, the size of their employer, and when they sign up for Medicare. If a client incurs any penalties, they’ll pay them for the rest of the time they’re on Medicare. The penalties themselves may only be a few extra dollars a month, but they’ll add up over time!
Explaining Delayed Enrollment for Medicare Parts A & B
If your client needs to adjust their coverage because they’re working past 65, ensure you know what they will need to do, so you can likewise assure them in properly handling any changes. Explain to your clients they should contact their local Social Security office for help in enrollment or dropping Medicare coverage. If they happen to receive their Medicare card in the mail, they can choose to delay enrollment by following the instructions for returning the Medicare card, which should come with it.
Assure Your Clients You Can Help with the Transition to Medicare
To stay at the forefront of your clients’ minds, we recommend reaching out to clients who are 64, and let them know that postponing their retirement may affect their Medicare enrollment deadlines. Stay above the chatter and the piles of mail coming their way – consider how Carolina Senior Marketing may help your marketing efforts in appealing to clients and sticking out from the crowd!
Recognizing this shift in our industry as insurance agents will help us recognize any possible changes in our books of business. You will do business better for your own sake and will be able to better serve your clients in their unique stages of life.
Partnering with the right Medicare FMO based in North Carolina will mean the world in adjusting your business practices and providing the best possible outcome for your customers. Consider what Carolina Senior Marketing can do for your agency. Call (919) 460-6073 or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.