They call it the Silver Tsunami. The baby boom of the mid-twentieth century has now become a vast wave – a massive generation of people hitting retirement age.
What does this mean for the insurance industry? Big things.
The median age of the U.S. workforce is higher now than it’s been since the Social Security Act passed in 1935. Soon, retirement-age people will represent more than 20 percent of the population. And most of them (70%) will need long-term care at some point soon.
The problem is, most retirees don’t want to think about that.
Greater Numbers, Greater Need
We’re already seeing a rise in demand for long-term care; the first ripples of this tidal wave are upon us. However, according to the Congressional Research Service, only a little more than 10 percent of Americans aged 55 or older actually buy long-term care insurance for themselves.
Instead, they rely on Medicaid – and that’s a problem, because this program doesn’t have the resources to provide for everyone (source). (And where long-term care is concerned, Medicare isn’t even an option.)
Most boomers don’t have the resources to single-handedly provide for their own long-term care needs, either. In fact, Reuters says senior poverty rates will certainly rise over the next years; the only question is by how much (source). Again … that’s a problem.
It’s Not Just a Problem – It’s a Crisis
Remember that “crisis” doesn’t only mean danger or instability. It also denotes a turning point: a moment which determines how the future will play out. A time of decisive change.
If we can harness this burgeoning market for long-term care insurance, everyone stands to benefit. Our businesses will do well, our customers will have the care and stability they need during their most vulnerable years, and the economic burden we face as a nation will be that much lighter.
In short, we can turn this disaster into an opportunity – if we act now.
The challenge will be to persuade our customers to think about their need for long-term care in the first place. Most retirees are reluctant to confront this eventuality, and until they do so, they’re not going to want to invest in long-term care insurance. It’s just too easy to put it off and hope it’ll go away. As we know, however, the need for long-term care insurance isn’t going anywhere.
It’s time to reach out to this market. Click here for tips and resources to help you talk to your clients about long-term care insurance. And the next time you request a quote for another product, why not ask for a long-term care insurance quote too?