Recap: Caribou's Virtual 2023 Open Enrollment Summit

Caribou Team
February 7, 2024

9 sessions, 14 speakers, over 275 registrants, and countless amounts of valuable insights and information about Medicare and Marketplace Open Enrollment made for an amazing two days! If you missed the virtual Open Enrollment Summit or just want a refresher on all the insightful material, check out the recap below:

Day One

We kicked off with a panel discussion between Lena McQuillen, CFP, Director of Financial Planning, Bailard, Inc.; Randy Kurtz, CFP, Chief Investment Officer, Upper Left Wealth Management, LLC; and Jennifer Fensley, CFP, Wealth Management Director, CapSouth Wealth Management about why financial advisors should care about Open Enrollment at all. 

During this session, Christine brought up an Accenture report that found that 40% of respondents reported they were looking for insurance advice as a product/service beyond core investment management. Jennifer was unsurprised by this statistic and said, “It’s definitely been on the increase. I don’t think we have clients asking very specific questions, however, I feel that it’s one of those situations where they don’t know what they don’t know. So when they come to us, what they really want to know is ‘Am I going to be okay?’ and they want us to answer that question for them.”

Jennifer, Randy, and Lena all went on to say that healthcare planning, and more specifically Open Enrollment, is an excellent way for them to meet an important client need and add value to their clients.


After that, Caribou HealthPlanning Coordinator Clarice Fleming gave two highly educational sessions; one about Medicare drug plans* (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and one about how Medicare and The Marketplace can change based on your location, which is very important for advisors supporting clients nationally.


Deb Gordon, Co-Founder and CEO of Umbra Health Advocacy, and Co-Director of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, then joined Caribou CEO, Christine Simone, for a session all about high vs. low-deductible health plans and how advisors can help clients determine which is right for them and how their selection influences their financial plan.

To end the day, Christine walked advisors through an Open Enrollment 101* session to cover all the basics of Medicare and The Marketplace.

*"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Medicare Drug Plans" and "Open Enrollment 101" were Live CE Webinars, so CE credit is not available if you watch the recordings of these sessions.

Day Two

We started day two with a panel discussion focusing on how healthcare planning can be used as a growth opportunity during Open Enrollment. Robert Huebscher, Founder of Advisor Perspectives and Vice Chairman at VettaFi, moderated the session between Clifford P. Haugen, CFA, President and Financial Advisor for BLB&B Advisors, and Christine Simone. Attendees walked away with both data-backed and anecdotal examples of how healthcare planning can be used for growth.

When asked how he integrates healthcare planning into prospect conversations, Clifford pointed out that most advisors aren’t hoping their clients come to them with healthcare questions: 

“Most advisors are sitting in their chairs praying clients do not ask them healthcare questions because it is incredibly geographic specific. It is socioeconomic status-specific. It is incredibly family and personal health situation-specific. I used to dread the healthcare questions because I've got all I can do to figure out my own healthcare situation without trying to figure out a plan for someone in Arizona where I don't even know the insurance companies. So getting someone who has the geographic reach and who can these questions in a really easy that we can integrate into our process is really powerful. You go from, ‘I hope they don't ask me that question’ to ‘Let me talk to you about what are you planning on doing about this [Open Enrollment].’ I can now, instead of trying to avoid the issue, I can forge right in and ask proactive, thought-provoking questions that when you look at the service model data most of my competition are not comfortable or are not resourced to ask.”


Next, Ari Gottlieb, Principal at A2 Strategy Group, and Christine walked us through a 30-minute power presentation about the most important healthcare cost and industry trends advisors need to know going into the 2023 Open Enrollment season. This session was jam-packed with valuable information about the ever-changing healthcare industry — all in an easy-to-understand format.


After that, Christina Reeg, OSHIIP Director for the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program, and John Lawton, CEO & Financial Advisor for BLB&B Advisors, gave a powerful presentation about the danger and prevalence of scams during Open Enrollment. They covered what advisors can do to help protect clients from these scams, as well as how to educate clients about these scams. Through personal and professional anecdotes, they talked about how to identify legitimate Medicare communications so that your clients can protect themselves and their financial plans.


Last but not least, to end Caribou's first-ever 2023 Open Enrollment Summit, we hosted a panel discussion all about how advisors can fit Open Enrollment and healthcare planning into their service calendar*. The panel was moderated by Josie Livengood, Caribou’s Marketing Manager, and featured Russ Thornton, Retirement Advisor for Women, Wealthcare for Women; Judson Meinhart CFP®, BFA™, MBA, CTS™, Director of Financial Planning & Principal for Modera Wealth Management, LLC; and Cindy Hoes, Associate Vice President of Nationwide Retirement Institute for Nationwide Financial. The panelists shared actionable communication and marketing strategies they use, as well as CRM optimization tips.

*"Fitting Fitting Open Enrollment & Healthcare Planning in Your Service Calendar" was a Live CE webinar, so CE credit is not available if you watch the recording.

Final Thoughts

Open Enrollment for Medicare and the Marketplace can be a stressful time for clients who need to enroll or update their plans, but 65% of clients expect health insurance advice as a product/service beyond core investment management from their advisor, making Open Enrollment a critical time to showcase your comprehensive, holistic approach! Open Enrollment is a key Life Event that creates an opportunity for advisors to connect with clients in a meaningful way and help them avoid mistakes. For example, 95% of seniors with Medicare Part D drug plans overspend on their coverage, but, advisors can step in and make sure their clients aren’t paying for unnecessary coverage and care. Open Enrollment can also be an opportunity to attract new clients by promoting that they offer a unique value-add to their financial planning repertoire. 

All the sessions in our two-day Open Enrollment Summit showed the importance of using Open Enrollment as a planning opportunity for advisors to improve clients' overall financial plans, grow their practice, deepen advisor-client relationships, and offer a service that clients are looking for. With that said, if you're a Caribou customer, now is the time to start initiating HealthPlanning Analyses for your clients on Medicare. And for clients on The Marketplace, you'll want to start initiating HealthPlanning Analyses in three weeks. If you're not yet a Caribou customer, book a call with our CEO Christine Simone to learn more about HealthPlanner, pricing, and other important information.

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