A blog about Medicare. What you and your employees need to know
How to “Hang Ten” During the Silver Tsunami
Author: Lora Drummond
Medicare Transition Specialist
Bracing for a Silver Tsunami-
2020 has certainly added new vocabulary and healthcare challenges to the company benefits landscape due to COVID-19. Perhaps you are evaluating healthcare coverage changes due to the pandemic? These unique experiences can certainly create new considerations in planning for future unexpected events in business.
Did you know there is another benefit ‘tide’ already ‘swelling’ with a potential impact relative to your aging workforce?
Here Comes the Wave
The Baby Boomer population, people born between 1946-1964, is poised to peak bringing more demand for healthcare coverage to employees and individuals as workforces continue to age. The aptly named ‘‘silver tsunami’ or “grey wave” is projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to reach ‘landfall’ in 2030. It is considered a historically significant economic ‘storm’ because during this period there is a large unique demographic shift of older people who enter retirement. Healthcare options, among other things, become more important too. The number of people adapting to retirement might inundate some services which is why the period is characterized as a tsunami. People over 65 will also decide if they will indeed retire or not.
Certain factors like costs, savings, and current health will play in their decision. Has COVID created a potential hardship shift with employees causing the Tsunami wave sooner? Has the pandemic created an opportunity for earlier conversations about retiring within your workforce?
What does a Silver Tsunami mean for your organization?
A Retirement Exodus Tsunami Scenario
It was assumed that the Tsunami would create an exodus of retirees. The economic impact would be felt logically in areas like real estate and healthcare as people leave their jobs and downsize their homes. For companies, most employees would move off group health plans as they retire. Transitioning employees to Medicare should therefore increase. So having a Medicare transition support team would create a compliant, stressfree, and successful partnership for your employees. We are here to help manage that trend and level of support and have some recommendations for gearing up for this scenario. However, with the pandemic currently, perhaps employees reaching 65 now are reviewing their workforce options. Perhaps employees need guidance on Medicare as an option if they are eligible and planning on retirement now? If you are having discussions with employees who were planning to work past age 65 but are now managing a reduction in workforce decision, consider providing expert support to guide them with health benefit decisions if they are Medicare eligible.
An Aging Workforce -Surge Scenario
There is also an alternative ‘wave’ to prepare for too. The number of employees who continue to work past age 65 might actually increase as opposed to previous predictions, given some of the current challenges the pandemic may have created on retirement financial planning. Employees might choose to postpone retirement to continue contributing to their employer-sponsored plans. Perhaps employees were furloughed or laid off and are returning to work and need to bridge that lost income and recoup retirement funding. Should there be a cost shift in sharing medical benefit costs, employees may need to continue to work to afford group coverage, or they may need to look for more frugal alternative coverage options once they are Medicare eligible. Medicare provides more options for managing costs depending on the individual. Group plans are built for groups of employees. Providing a comfortable planned discussion about Medicare creates options never considered while still working.
Corporate Budgets and Chronic Illness
Fitness, diet trends, interest in longevity practices, and even telemedicine have helped to tip the health management scales positively for our aging population. But chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, requiring maintenance medical coverage which could impact corporate benefit budgets with an expanding aging workforce. How will those chronic condition costs be managed by your budget? Medicare has special needs plans that can take a high percentage of costs off an employee. Employees may not know all the benefits Medicare offers. Certified Medicare Planners® can help educate your employees about options they never knew Medicare provides!
What Options do you Have for Managing a Tsunami?
Creating a partnership with a team of Medicare experts would be a good first step. A transition team can analyze your benefits compared to Medicare.
- They can help create comfortable conversations with employees to make the bridge to Medicare compliant and smooth.
- They can be a resource for managing the complexities of Medicare.
- By consulting with a team of experts you can decide what kind of support you want to provide for your employees to help them transition.
We can help you prepare to ‘catch a wave’:
Education Workshops: How can you choose Medicare if you don’t know what it really is? By bringing Medicare education to your employees at your workplace or by hosting a virtual workshop that your employees and spouses can attend you are supporting them with the basics of Medicare and providing it as a viable benefit option. The more employees understand Medicare the more likely they are to consider transitioning to it while still employed. Our education workshops teach employees how to compare costs and benefits coverage when they are eligible for Medicare. We also teach them how to look for plans that meet their specific needs. By positioning Medicare as another benefit option you are creating a comfortable and compliant opportunity for employees to consider transitioning to it while still working if it makes sense for them to do so. Also, early education helps create a smooth glide path so they know when and how to enroll.
Certified Medicare Planners®: Where do you send your employees for Medicare guidance? By partnering with a team of Medicare experts, you are creating a comfortable place for questions and guidance. By referring employees to a Medicare partner you are providing a confident single source for everything Medicare. A CMP is trained to ask appropriate questions about an individual’s health, cost and lifestyle needs to provide non-bias and carrier-agnostic guidance about all the Medicare options available to them. By providing all the options, employees can ‘see’ and choose a medical plan that is right for them. Our Medicare experts will also compare Medicare to existing group plans to make determine when transitioning makes the most appropriate sense.
You don’t have to navigate the wave alone, now or later. Let our team provide you with opportunities to help employees begin creating their glide path to Medicare now.
Create a compliant Medicare benefit support plan.
Give your employees personal guidance from a team of experts that will follow them after they retire.
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