Do you still think of seniors as Luddites who don’t know how to use things like computers or smartphones? This stereotype is increasingly false. While some seniors may struggle with modern technology, more and more seniors are embracing technology. This trend started before the pandemic, but the coronavirus has helped fuel it – and it’s time for insurance agents to take notice.
Seniors Are Using Tech to Stay Connected
Among U.S. seniors aged 65 and older, 42% own smartphones, 80% own cell phones, and 67% use the internet, according to Pew Research Center. Social media is popular, too, with 40% of seniors aged 65 and older using at least one social media site.
Technology has become a way for seniors to stay connected with their children and grandchildren living in different states or even in different countries. Now, as the pandemic forces vulnerable seniors into isolation to avoid infection, technology is becoming an essential communication tool for seniors trying to stay in touch with friends and family.
Many seniors have learned how to use videoconferencing tools. In one example reported by Tampa Bay Times, 300 seniors learned how to use Zoom through a college course, and now they use it for a virtual happy hour.
Seniors Are Using Tech to Get Care
Technology has also provided new ways for seniors to access care.
According to Fierce Healthcare, 52% of seniors surveyed said they were comfortable with using telehealth services, while 18% were unsure and 30% were uncomfortable. Those who had actually used telehealth reported overwhelmingly positive experience, with 91% saying they have a favorable experience and 78% saying they plan to use it again.
Telehealth is convenient, it’s a way to access care without risking exposure to the coronavirus or other viruses, and it’s rapidly catching on among seniors.
But the use of technology to improve senior health goes way beyond telemedicine. CNBC reports that new tech devices – like virtual reality headsets and robots designed to assist seniors – are helping seniors stay physically and mentally healthy.
What This Means for Agents
Your clients are embracing technology. You need to embrace it, too. Doing so will help you meet the needs of your clients. It can also make your life a lot easier.
Help seniors find plans with the telehealth benefits they want.
Include social media, websites and email in your marketing efforts.
Offer remote enrollment this AEP.
Take advantage of carrier portals and the tools provided there.
Use the Medicare Engine. This new agent portal is your one-stop pathway to everything you need to succeed as an agent. The easy-to-use buttons make it a snap to order supplies, manage your certifications or ramp up your marketing.
You can count on Western Asset Protection to equip you with tools and resources to make the tech transition. Contact us if you need any assistance.