5 Tips on Easing Tension with a Medicare beneficiary during times of uncertainty

Sep 25, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has completely altered the way we go about our lives. With so many things remaining uncertain many seniors are feeling stressed and lonely. As the uncertainty continues, many seniors feeling uneasy will have questions and concerns regarding their healthcare coverage. Taking a proactive approach at easing their tension can help alleviate their worries. Keep reading for our top 5 Tips on easing tensions with a Medicare Beneficiary during times of uncertainty.

Tip #1: Check-In

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many individuals to limit the time they spend with others.  With the most vulnerable population being seniors,  it is no doubt that many have struggled with loneliness and isolation.  According to a recent kff.org study,  there has been a “recent increase in the share of older adults (ages 65 and up) reporting negative mental health impacts due to worry and stress from the coronavirus.”

Chart | Older Adults Who Say Worry or Stress Related to Coronavirus Has Had A Negative Impact on Their Mental Health

Checking in with your clients during times of uncertainty, even if it’s a simple email, phone call, or written letter can go along way in reassuring them during this uncertain time. Not only does checking in with clients help with easing tension, but it can also help strengthen the relationship with your client.

Here are a few examples of ways you can reach out to your clients that only take a few minutes:

  • Send a personalized reassuring email
  • Send a light-hearted email (funny cartoon, recipe, or something nostalgic)
  • Send a thoughtful handwritten note
  • Make a quick phone call

Tip #2: Stay Informed

Staying well informed about the current events surrounding coronavirus and how it affects your clients is important to ease any concerns they may have about the current pandemic and their Medicare coverage.  It is almost inevitable at some point a client will have a question related to coronavirus.  Quickly providing an educated answer will ensure you remain a trusted source your clients can rely on.  Here are a few examples of  frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus:

  • Has Medicare’s enrollment rules changed in response to coronavirus?
  • Will Medicare cover the cost of coronavirus testing and treatment?
  • Does Medicare cover Telehealth appointments?
  • Will Medicare cover a Covid-19 Vaccine if one comes available?
  • Will Medicare cover the cost of long term care if I am diagnosed with Coronavirus?

Continuously check news sources, carrier websites, Medicare.gov,  AGA Facebook page or blog, to stay informed about coronavirus and senior health.  It is also a great idea to anticipate your client’s needs and push the information to them by posting on your social media accounts or by sending updates in an email newsletter. This simple task can help them remain calm during times of uncertainty.

Tip # 3:  Go Virtual

If you haven’t already moved your business operations online, now is the time to do so.  With many states still prohibiting in-person events and many seniors still wary of public interaction, your best form of communication during this unprecedented time is through digital media tools. Facebook and YouTube are the two most popular social media sites among seniors. Use these social media platforms to stay connected with your clients. Ease their fears by providing helpful information and resources or host weekly virtual meet-ups to discuss important topics.

Going virtual does not mean it has to be all business.  Mix in some light-hearted content to help break up the serious posts.  They say laughter is the best form of medicine so why not try to cheer up your client’s day with a little dose of happiness.  Here are a few examples of some light-hearted content you could share:

  • Funny cartoon
  • Recipe for comfort food
  • Pictures of cute animals
  • Host a virtual coffee chat
  • Simple craft ideas

Tip #4:  Remain Positive

Remaining positive during times of uncertainty is extremely important to help ease any tension your clients may be experiencing regarding coronavirus. It is important to make sure the tone in all forms of communication remains positive. Spreading positivity can do a lot for mental health. According to Mayo Clinic, there are numerous health benefits associated with positivity including:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Here are a few examples you can use to help your clients remain positive:

  • Share a positive news article or story
  • Share inspirational quotes
  • Perform a “virtual” random act of kindness
  • Express gratitude
  • Share tools and resources for positive thinking

Tip #5: Be Prepared for AEP

AEP 2020 will be the first opportunity Medicare beneficiaries will have since the Coronavirus pandemic hit to enroll or make changes to their health coverage.  If you haven’t already started preparing, now is the time to do so.  We anticipate this year’s AEP will be a busy one.  Start gathering information on new carrier plans, changes to existing plans, adjustments in costs, added benefits, and more. Being fully prepared will ensure you are able to guide your clients through the enrollment process with ease.  Anticipate what your clients will be concerned with and have solutions ready to go.  Making sure your clients have a positive experience during a stressful time will speak volumes to an already concerned group of people.  For more tips on preparing for AEP check out our AEP Game Plan.

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