14 Nov 2023
How to Help Clients Plan Financially for Medical Emergencies
Estimated read time: 4 minutes
As an insurance advisor, your clients count on you to help them plan for the future. That means preparing them for life’s “what ifs”—including medical emergencies, those dreaded events that can forever change lives in a moment.
While it’s not always possible to avoid a medical crisis, it is possible to prevent one from ballooning into a financial crisis as well. As a PALIG agent, you’re uniquely positioned to help your clients do just that.
It Starts with a Heartfelt Conversation
Accidents, strokes, a grim diagnosis…unfortunately, these happen every day. But until they do, few people think about their impact on their financial well-being, despite the well-documented link between health emergencies and financial hardship.
After all, 40% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical debt, at least in the U.S. This is something to bring to your clients’ attention—perhaps by citing local statistics as well as some firsthand stories. Explain how some clients were able to avert financial disaster because of their PALIG coverage—and then explain how it works.
Here’s some tips and talking points to get you started.
Emergency-proofing Finances through Life & Health Insurance
You have the power to help your clients guard their finances against medical emergencies—and it lies in your PALIG product portfolio. When you present various coverages to your clients through this particular lens, it helps them see their value more fully. For example:
Your Clients’ First Line of Defense: Health Insurance
Nothing keeps medical emergency costs in check like health insurance. Most PALIG health plans include quality emergency room benefits, hospitalization and coverage for ambulance services—all which are very expensive.
From PreferredAccess major medical coverage to PANAMED limited benefit indemnity plans, PALIG’s emergency care benefits allow insureds to focus on their recovery rather than worry about how to pay for their care—or, worse yet, cut it short due to financial concerns.
Whatever PALIG health plans you offer, make sure to tailor your recommendations to your clients’ needs and situations, factoring in family size, medical history and budgets to offer the most attractive, meaningful coverage.
Accruing Emergency Funds through Permanent Life Insurance
Every family should have an emergency fund to draw on “just in case”—say, if the breadwinner becomes ill or injured and can’t work. As you know, in this regard, permanent life insurance provides two-way protection:
- An emergency fund in the form of cash value, and
- Death benefits, in case the unthinkable happens
Whether you’re presenting a term life, whole life, universal life, or Global Assets indexed universal life product, take the time to explain how cash value grows and can be quickly accessed if/when needed.
And it goes without saying: be sure that the life insurance coverage you recommend is tailored to your client’s specific situation. For example, a young family on a very strict budget may need to start with a term life policy, where a mature client with considerable assets may be interested in an indexed universal life policy.
Critical Illness Plans: Help When It’s Needed Most
If you haven’t talked to your clients about critical illness protection, you really should. These economical plans provide lump-sum benefits that insureds can use however they choose, whether to fund treatment--supplementing health insurance--or defray living expenses.
For clients with a family history of certain types of diseases—like cancer or heart disease—or a fear that their health insurance isn’t enough, critical illness policies not only provide added financial protection, but added peace of mind.
Accident Insurance: Affordable Emergency Protection
Personal accident insurance is another smart way to guard against emergencies, because it’s highly affordable and requires minimal underwriting.
For example, with Pan-American Shield Protection, you can offer clients a personalized accident policy that includes accidental death and dismemberment, optional accident and sickness disability income and/or accident medical expense reimbursement.
While accident insurance is not a replacement for life or health insurance, it’s an excellent way to augment it, especially for young families.
Encourage the Use of Financial Planning Tools
You can also help your clients safeguard their finances against emergencies by recommending that they consult with their attorney and financial advisor concerning tools, such as:
- Power of Attorney – With a POA, individuals can designate a loved one to make financial decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated, ensuring the continued management of their financial affairs.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney – Similarly, a healthcare POA allows an individual to appoint a loved one to make healthcare decisions on their behalf when they can’t.
- Advance Healthcare Directives – These allows individuals to document their preferred medical treatments and end-of-life care in the event they can’t communicate them.
And of course, it’s wise to encourage your clients to advance their financial literacy, so they can better understand and manage their finances.
Help Your Clients Be Ready for Anything
At the end of the day, there are some events we humans can’t control, and health emergencies are among them. However, as an insurance advisor, you can help your clients be financially ready for whatever the future holds—and it’s a valuable service to provide.
See our companion blog on giving clients a game plan for responding to health emergencies. And if you have a story about how you prepared a client to be financially ready for a medical crisis, we’d love to hear it. Please share it with your Regional Sales VP.