How to Talk About Healthcare in Client Meetings
March 2, 2023
“Why would I talk about healthcare with my clients?”
I’m sure that question has crossed your mind! Your first instinct might be to meet it with resistance, but it’s likely you’re considering it for good reason. For starters, healthcare costs are the third highest area of retirement spending and one of the top five highest expenses for the average American adult. Plus, more than three in five future retirees state that out-of-control healthcare costs are their top fear in retirement.
As a comprehensive financial advisor, it’s in your best interest (and your clients’) to include all major costs in their financial plan. This, combined with the fact that clients expect more and more from their financial advisors, begs an even better question than the one at the beginning of this blog: why wouldn’t you talk about healthcare with your clients?
Now that I’ve gotten the “why” out of the way and explained the importance of talking about healthcare with clients, I’ll dive into the “how.”
Tie healthcare conversations to life events.
I’ve talked about life events before, and I will continue to talk about them because they’re the best way to introduce healthcare topics to clients! Let’s say you’re meeting with your client to talk about their retirement happening next year. If they are 65 or will turn 65 when they retire, this meeting is the perfect opportunity to talk about Medicare and healthcare costs to plan for during their retirement. If they’re retiring before 65, you can talk about their health insurance options with them. Since you’re already meeting to discuss retirement, bringing up healthcare coverage won’t feel awkward since it’s a key part of retirement planning. If your client isn’t retiring any time soon, don’t worry. There are plenty of other life events you can use to talk about healthcare planning. For example, the following are all big life events that will have an impact not only on your clients’ personal lives but on their financial plans and their healthcare needs and coverage options too:
- Having a baby
- Moving or changing your primary residence
- A dependent turning 26 and aging off their parent’s policy
- Getting married
- Getting divorced
- Becoming widowed
Ask about their current health insurance coverage and health needs.
Another way to introduce healthcare into client meetings is to simply include it in your list of basic information that you ask clients. Let clients know that health insurance and out-of-pocket costs for care, as well as their health needs and preferences, are expenses worth noting in their financial plan, and that’s why you’d like to discuss it with them annually (at minimum). Right before their employer’s, Medicare’s, or the Marketplace’s Open Enrollment periods are ideal times to talk about their current coverage and health needs. Analyzing where clients are with their healthcare costs and needs right now can help them, and you, decide if any changes could be made to better optimize their coverage and costs. Plant seeds with clients throughout the year to ensure that you’re the one they turn too when needing to evaluate their options, as this gives you an edge over other advisors.
Ask about any foreseeable changes this year to their health or coverage.
This strategy pairs well with the one above. Once you get an idea of where clients are currently with their coverage and costs, you can then focus on where they’ll be in the future. Let’s say your client knows they want to get LASIK surgery next year. You can now incorporate this expense into their financial plan and help them decide the best way to pay for this expense. For example, if they have a Health Savings Account, you can help them decide if it would be better to use their HSA funds to pay for LASIK or if it would be better for them to pay out-of-pocket and leave their HSA funds untouched so they can continue to grow and be used for future healthcare expenses.
You would never know when to help them create a strategy for this expense if you don’t ask about their healthcare costs and needs, so although it can feel awkward to ask, it’s important that you do. And in most cases, you’ll find that clients are more than willing to talk about healthcare if it means creating a more robust financial plan or accessing cost savings. Healthcare is also a complex topic that can leave clients feeling overwhelmed, so they’ll also be relieved to receive help and guidance from someone they already trust.
As you meet with clients, don’t neglect healthcare costs. Let clients know beforehand that you’d like to discuss their healthcare costs and coverage before the meeting happens so they can better prepare to answer your questions. And of course, if you want to make it even easier on yourself and your clients, partner with Caribou to handle all your healthcare planning needs.
If you’re not ready to book a call but you do want to learn more about how to include healthcare planning in your client meetings, check out our free webinar!