3 questions to ask when you're looking for a health partner

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 @ 07:01

Check out this column in ThinkAdvisor!

As health care costs continue to rise, financial advisors are increasingly building health care consulting services into their value proposition to clients. The issue is material to wealth management — health care costs in retirement are estimated at $275,000 for a couple retiring this year, according to Fidelity Benefits Consulting.

More financial advisors are recognizing that strategically evaluating health care and insurance costs is key to an effective retirement strategy. But most financial planners and wealth managers aren’t insurance experts themselves, which has led to a partnership between two industries — health care and benefits advisors and wealth management experts.

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Tags: Medicare, healthcare advice, Individual Plans, financial advisors, healthcare extension, wealth managers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

How Bernard Health helps individuals through financial advisors & employers

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 @ 08:10

A note to our friends and clients

Bernard Health is now offering health insurance advice and assistance to individuals and families exclusively through our partnerships with financial advisors and employers.

What does this mean?

If your employer is a client of Bernard Health, you can continue to work with our team of licensed, noncommissioned advisors for free. We support hundreds of employers including businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities.

Also, if you have a relationship with a financial advisor who partners with Bernard Health, you can access our advisory services for free. We began partnering with financial advisors in mid-2017, and several financial advisors who help clients all over the country have already made an investment to make Bernard Health's services free to their clients. If you have a relationship with a financial advisor, please ask them if they're already working with Bernard Health. If they are, we may be able to provide your family with unlimited healthcare advisory services for free! If they're not, you can encourage them to consider partnering with us, and you start by sharing this link with them

Due to changes in health insurance, we will not be offering fee-based consulting services in our stores this year. If you're one of thousands of individuals or families who has counted on Bernard Health in the past and was hoping to work with us again this year, please know that we're just as disappointed as you are that we're no longer able to help the general public. We know people still need guidance. While we are not able to offer specific advice to individual consumers, here is general information about what to expect during this year’s open enrollment and links to a few other resources. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, Medicare, Individual health insurance, nashville, Nashville health insurance, Individual Plans, individual health insurance questions, individual digest, financial planner, financial advisors, individuals

Medicare open enrollment is here

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 @ 09:10

Want to change plans? We can help.

Medicare open enrollment begins October 15. Until December 7, Medicare beneficiaries make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans.

You won’t be able to make changes to your plan until next year’s open enrollment period, so be sure to evaluate your current strategy.

What are your options?

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Tags: health insurance, Medicare, individual digest, medicare open enrollment

Smart financial planners step up to fill gaps in healthcare advice

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Mon, May 08, 2017 @ 12:05

A 'healthcare extension' gives clients the expert advice they need

I used to be really boring at cocktail parties. When a new friend would ask me about what I do for a living, I talked about solving problems in health insurance. Our team at Bernard Health has helped thousands of people make better decisions around health insurance and Medicare. But who wants to hear about that at a cocktail party? My social skills could have been better.But two things happened that made me more interesting. Or at least less boring. 
  1. The Affordable Care Act and subsequent policy debates made health insurance sexy (sort of) for maybe the first time ever.

  2. I learned to stop talking about healthcare. I started asking questions about healthcare instead, and I was surprised by what I observed. The same people whose eyes glazed over when I brought it up became animated when they had space to talk about their own healthcare experiences and concerns.
My unscientific cocktail party research revealed that most people care deeply about healthcare. They don't necessarily want to talk about wonky topics like population health or cost sharing reduction subsidies, but they have strong opinions and some anxiety around physician networks and prescription coverage. It turns out that healthcare - how to plan for it, how to maintain it, how to pay for it - isn't just a conversation for analysts and journalists. As long as they're given the space, everyday Americans want to discuss it.

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Tags: Medicare, Medicare Advice, healthcare advice, Individual Plans, financial advisors, healthcare extension, wealth managers

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employer healthcare freedom
employer healthcare freedom