Stock sell-off presents one of many opportunities for comprehensive advisors

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 @ 08:02

Three services comprehensive financial advisors provide

The recent stock sell-off has drawn big headlines, which has led many Americans to express concern over their investments.

This uncertainty presents an opportunity for comprehensive financial advisors to offer another layer of customer service, leading to better client retention and a competitive advantage.

Smart financial advisors have taken the—often alarming—headlines as an opportunity to touch base with clients and offer some reassurance and personalized advice.

As advisors are increasingly competing on more than just asset management, these services allow advisors to position themselves as more comprehensive than the competition.

Here are two other ways advisors can offer an increased level of personalized service.

Read More

Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Financial advisors—how to help your clients with annual Medicare reviews

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Feb 02, 2018 @ 06:02

Medicare strategies should be evaluated annually

Healthcare costs are a big concern for Americans at all income levels. This is an issue financial advisors are well-positioned to address, which is why planners and wealth managers are increasingly integrating healthcare and health insurance advising into their practices, either in-house or through partnerships with noncommissioned advisors like Bernard Health.

Medicare presents particular challenges for financial advisors and their clients. We estimate there are 18 Medicare strategies, and the overwhelming number of options typically means most consumers don’t have the most cost-effective strategy.

Medicare is a reoccurring and long-term expense for your clients, so finding the right combination of plans and products is key. Further, Medicare policies change yearly, so reevaluating the strategy annually is also important.

Here are four reasons your clients should reevaluate their Medicare strategies yearly, and how financial advisors are positioned to help.

Read More

Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Financial advisors, will Medicare changes affect your high-income clients?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 @ 08:01

What advisors need to know

Changes to Medicare thresholds for higher Part B and Part D premiums will affect higher income recipients this year.

Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes pay higher premiums for Parts B and D, called income-related monthly adjustment amounts, or IRMAA. Beginning this year and applying to tax year 2016, the thresholds for the surcharges have changed.

The surcharges apply to individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes above $85,000 and couples above $170,000.

Read More

Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Financial advisors: Your clients have anxiety around healthcare costs in retirement

Posted by John Whaling on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 @ 12:12

How expensive can healthcare really be in retirement?

How expensive can healthcare really be in retirement? These sentiments are reflected in other surveys as well. According to a 2014 Merrill Lynch study, Health and Retirement: Planning for the Great Unknown, 41 percent of Americans pinpoint future healthcare costs as their greatest financial concern.

Surprisingly, that number jumps to 54 percent and 60 percent for pre-retirees with over $250K and $5 million, respectively. Despite these worries, only 15 percent of pre-retirees have planned for these expenses.

Why are these pre-retirees so worried? How expensive can healthcare really be in retirement? Many studies attempt to estimate how much retirees can expect to spend, and they estimate healthcare could cost between $200K and $700K per couple. No matter how you cut it, healthcare is material to the financial well-being of most Americans.

Read More

Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Three health insurance landmines to avoid

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Dec 08, 2017 @ 09:12

And how to help your employees or clients avoid them

Most consumers know how confusing the U.S. healthcare system can be. From choosing the right plan to avoiding surprise medical bills, most consumers benefit from having an insurance advisor to assist in decision-making.

But health insurance resources are limited. For consumers on a group plan, employees typically consult HR, but HR leaders aren’t usually health insurance experts. Further, not all benefits brokers are willing or able to take questions from individual employees, let alone answer questions about health insurance outside of the group plan—like what to do with a 26-year-old aging off their parent’s coverage.

When it comes to individuals, there are even fewer resources, which can have a material impact on consumers’ financial well being, investment planning and wealth management.

For these reasons, Bernard Health works with employers and financial advisors to provide expert health insurance to employees and clients.

Read More

Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, employer health benefits, open enrollment, employer digest, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

Three ways healthcare can affect clients’ finances

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Dec 01, 2017 @ 10:12

How financial advisors can help

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, the cost of healthcare is the top financial concern for Americans. While many Americans have limited savings and would struggle to pay their deductibles or other medical bills, rapidly increasing insurance costs affect the financial well being of consumers with higher incomes, too.

For financial advisors, there are three particular areas that may affect your clients’ finances and wealth management—Medicare, under-65 insurance costs, and medical billing for high severity healthcare experiences.

This is why more financial advisors are integrating healthcare and health insurance advising into their practices, either in-house or through partnerships with noncommissioned advisors like Bernard Health.

Here’s what financial advisors should know.

Read More

Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

Financial advisors: Four things to consider when evaluating a healthcare extension

Posted by John Whaling on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 @ 08:11

How to use healthcare as a differentiator

As the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule looms over the financial advisor industry, most advisors are having to take on a legal fiduciary duty on behalf of their clients. As their roles shift and, simultaneously, healthcare becomes more and more material to the financial health of their clients, many advisors are including healthcare as a part of their financial planning process. Our team at Bernard Health has talked to hundreds of financial advisors about healthcare in 2017. When it comes to helping clients, the whole industry is evaluating three options:

1. Build health insurance and Medicare expertise in house by hiring an expert or helping a current staff member get a health insurance license

2. Add a “healthcare extension” to their practice by partnering with an outside resource like Bernard Health.

3. Do nothing. While many advisors are addressing healthcare questions head-on, some are concluding that it's not within their scope as a fiduciary to provide healthcare expertise to clients.

For the advisors considering a “healthcare extension”, how can they be sure their fiduciary duty is taken seriously by their partner? In other words, will the outside resource have their clients’ best interest in mind when giving healthcare advice?

When evaluating a partnership with a healthcare expert, here are four considerations that help ensure your clients are getting the kind of healthcare advice they need.

Read More

Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

To stand out and deliver value to clients, financial advisors embrace healthcare

Posted by John Whaling on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 @ 09:11

How to use healthcare as a differentiator

How can a financial advisor differentiate themselves in a crowded field? In years past, it was easier: Become an RIA and take on a legal fiduciary duty to clients. However, with the new Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule coming into effect, all brokers who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice will have no choice but to become fiduciaries as well.

The savviest clients may still recognize really talented and committed advisors, but now even the least talented advisors will be able to say, “Hey, I’m a fiduciary too!” According to Walt Bettinger, President and CEO of Charles Schwab, firms will now have to differentiate themselves through relationships and planning. But in a world where everyone is a “fiduciary,” how can an advisor add value not yet being provided by the competition? 

Sean Allocca with Financial Planning magazine says that healthcare planning is one area where Americans are feeling financial anxiety that isn’t yet addressed by most financial planners.  He says that healthcare planning “could become a ripe growth area for firms and a way to differentiate themselves from competitors." While healthcare planning has not traditionally been within the scope of a financial advisor, more and more smart advisors are saying it’s an obvious way to stand out, first and foremost because healthcare is material to the financial health of their clients and prospects.

Read More

Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, open enrollment, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

Financial advisors—do your clients need open enrollment help?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Nov 03, 2017 @ 08:11

How to help clients better manage costs in 2018

Does your financial planning or wealth management firm have clients on Medicare? What about self-employed clients, or those who own their own small businesses?

Open enrollment for both Medicare and the individual market occur during the fourth quarter. This is the time your clients can determine if they have the right insurance strategy for themselves and their families.

With healthcare costs skyrocketing, choosing the right plan is material to your clients’ financial interests. This is why more financial advisors are beginning to integrate healthcare advising services into their practices.

By partnering with Bernard Health, financial advisors can provide clients with complimentary access to health insurance experts. We’ve been helping individuals and families compare their options and find the best strategy for more than then years.

Read More

Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, open enrollment, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

Bernard Health Partners with Retirement Planning Services to Advise Clients on Healthcare

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 @ 08:10

New partnership continues benefits firm's mission to assist financial planners

Bernard Health, a leading benefits brokerage and insurance advisory firm, has partnered with leading Southeast financial services firm Retirement Planning Services, continuing the mission to help clients make informed health insurance planning decisions.

“For our financial planning practice, it made sense to augment our offerings with service from Bernard Health,” said Spencer Hall, President at Retirement Planning Services. “Our clients count on us to help them make smart financial decisions. Healthcare is an increasingly important part of financial planning, and we’ve made an investment to ensure our clients are getting the best possible advice in this complicated area.”

Read More

Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, retirement planning services

Email Subscription

Most Popular Posts

Latest Posts