Growing Consumer Consciousness About Retirement

maze.jpgIn the world of “entitlement” programs, the youngest Boomers just turning 50-years-old this year believe that social security will not be available for them nor will Medicare as we know it. While it would be nice to have research to support this, suffice it to say, survey 50-somethings and they’ll confirm this statement!

Many Boomers rarely have the opportunity to work for the same employer long enough to accrue some benefits into retirement. In addition, the current employee benefit model, highlighted by pensions and retiree health insurance, is in flux. Allen Steinberg, JD and chief legal officer of Retiree Health Choices, detailed the pension pendulum in this blog post recently.

Boomer/Consumer Consciousness

The rocky rollout of the Affordable Healthcare Act under the banner of Healthcare.gov has influenced everyone in the country regardless of gender, political, religious, ethnic, or other persuasion. Right now it is a calamity for the country; yet, it is also an opportunity for organizations to recognize the need for clarity.

Many consumers, particularly boomers, are well informed and educated about an array of products and services, insurance plans and options. However, the transition to Medicare remains a gap – consumers are not aware of the complexity until they have to deal with it.

What’s missing and frustrating is the lack of tools to feed a growing and increasingly sophisticated consumer consciousness. For consumers to align with companies and service providers, there must be a synergy.

The Consumer Is You

Imagine you are the consumer. What kind of experience do you want to have when visiting a website? What tools do you need to navigate a site successfully? What kinds of information do you need about the company’s products, services and expertise to make an informed purchase decision?

In general, everyone within a company is a consumer. Companies, even the largest behemoths, should be able to peel away the layers of the onion and walk down the levels of hierarchy to the consumer knocking at the door waiting to buy.

When was the last time a company put itself on the same playing field as the consumer who is a prospect and a customer? It’s been awhile, right?

Retiree Health Choices

Prior to Retiree Health Choices going to market with EasyMedicareChoices.com, the online consumer marketplace for Medicare Supplement insurance, the company founders thought long and hard about the complexity surrounding Medicare purchase decisions. They realized that consumers are confused about how to buy Medicare insurance, what premium to pay, what total cost of health expenditure to plan for, and whether the government will keep enough money to continue to fund the program.

Company executives realized an unmet need in the marketplace. The unmet need was so unmet many consumers did not and do not realize there should be more clarity around the Medicare purchase decision:

• Many consumers spend weeks and weeks looking for information online or via the annual “Medicare & You” handbook published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

• Many consumers ask a friend or family member what they purchase, and buy the same thing even though it may not be a good fit for their budget and healthcare needs.

• Many consumers take the advice of brokers and purchase a plan that is not a good fit for them.

That’s why Retiree Health Choices is creating innovative online solutions to alleviate the complexity surrounding retirement choices – whether its purchasing Medicare or planning a secure financial future.

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