Life & Health / Financial Services Edition www.NationalUnderwriter.com
O P I N I O N
Health Care Planning Important to Boomers
By Linda Koco
As they approach retirement, baby boomers are asking, 'What am I going to do for my health insurance?' They are
anxious and want to know."
That is how Eugene Rowe describes the mood among older boomers (age 50 to 59) when they visit his office.
Financial advisors must decide how to assist boomers with this, says the chief executive officer of R&R Retirement
Insurance Services LLC, Encino, Cal.
He and other experts say the strategy will vary by age and situation, but the advisor does need a strategy.
It starts with discussing the boomer client’s health status, says Rowe. "Ask how they have been taking care of
themselves. Getting annual check-ups? Regular exercise? Eating healthy? What about drinking and smoking?
"The carriers do want to know about these factors," he says. And it opens up the door to discussing insurance
options, several of which are highlighted below.
Advisors say boomers are facing several critical factors that are fueling a sense of urgency related to health care
"It’s like the ‘perfect storm,’" says Carrol Busher, owner of Financial Care Services, Grand Rapids, Mich.
"The government has been consistently sending a message that ‘you have to be responsible for yourself,’" says
Busher. "The government won’t do it for you."
He points to the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. That signaled that the
federal government is moving away from defined health care benefits under Medicare and toward defined
contribution health care plans, Busher says. "It’s the same as what happened when the country moved from defined
benefit pension plans to 401(k) (defined contribution) retirement plans."
There will be a continual shift to private methods of funding health care, he says.
Rowe offers a laundry list of other pressures at work on boomers: "Increasing numb