Integrating a holistic approach to healthcare and financial planning
by Bruce Spector
Mr. Spector is Founder and Chairman of PinnacleCare, a leading provider of private health advisory services and group health advisory benefits. PinnacleCare provides professional health advisory services to consumers and organizations, guiding decisions and facilitating access to top specialists for personalized care. Through a high-touch, customized approach, members are connected with the right care at the right time to help avoid unnecessary medical procedures and facilitate more optimal outcomes. For more information, visit pinnaclecare.com/advisors.
When your clients share that they, or a loved one, is suddenly facing a critical or life-threatening medical diagnosis, what can you do?
Most likely you can reassure them that you have their financial, insurance or legal matters under control; but how much more helpful could you be, and how much deeper could you develop your client relationship, if you could provide them access to a professional advisor to advocate and quarterback their medical care?
Many people, perhaps naively, feel that as long as they have a long term care insurance policy and a solid health insurance plan then they have great “health care”. However, insurance is simply a currency. Health care comprises the services you receive from medical and health professionals for the prevention, treatment, and management of illness to preserve mental and physical well-being. To have truly great “health care”, you need both solid insurance coverage and the knowledge of and access to the most cutting edge treatment options, experts and medical resources.
In the suite of professional advisory services that are offered to clients, a holistic approach is emerging that integrates medical and healthcare planning into other professional planning services. Seeking the guidance of a professional health advisor is a vital next step to ensure that clients are prepared when a medical crisis strikes and nothing else seems to matter.
The Need for Professionals to Guide Medical and Health-Related Decisions
When it comes to complex matters like tax and estate planning, or high-risk financial and real estate investment decisions, most individuals seek the help of professional advisors.
No field has gotten more complex and few decisions are as critical as the health-related decisions associated with serious and complex medical issues. Health advisory professionals are gaining a seat at the table to help clients and their families navigate an increasingly complex healthcare environment for the best possible care and optimal health and well-being. By seeking the support of professionals for medical and health-related decisions, clients are more actively managing risk to stay healthy and ensure their access to the best possible care when needed.
While there are many business partners who provide expert advice and guidance for pivotal legal and financial decisions, there is rarely one objective, unbiased resource to guide individuals when facing a serious diagnosis, medical emergency, or other health care-related decisions. Many high net-worth clients are used to having financial advisors, attorneys, insurance brokers, CPAs, etc., but they have typically been on their own to navigate the healthcare system – looking often to personal connections, rather than independent health professionals, to guide their decisions.
Health advisory services have emerged to fill that gap and serve as a professional partner helping clients to navigate the healthcare system, providing objective information and research, coordinating all aspects of care, and facilitating access to the country’s top specialists and medical centers. It supports the primary care function to ensure both strong, local attention but also a national (and global) support system for critical diagnoses or medical emergencies that should arise while traveling anywhere in the world.
Health Advisory Group Benefits to Address the Middle-Market Gap
Just as 401K benefit plans emerged to fill the gap when the responsibility for retirement planning shifted from employers to consumers, health advisory group benefits are emerging to help manage the shifting burden for health decisions to the consumer.
It is a burden impacting all employees, regardless of age, as new consumer-directed health plans become the norm. More than 17.4 million Americans now rely on high-deductible health plans with HSA-based plans carrying median deductibles of $2500. The quality and cost of medical care is now more directly relating to decisions consumers are making – increasing the need for a professional advisor.
Growing Your Personal Connection and Enhancing Your Value
You may find it awkward or uncomfortable to ask your clients about their lives outside of your professional focus. But the fact is that healthcare is an exceedingly complex business today.
Medical decisions can be a heavy burden and without a support system in place, the responsibility of caring for loved ones can be overwhelming. By encouraging better and more informed decisions for maintaining good health and/or dealing with complex medical conditions and treatments, your clients can better focus on managing other aspects of their life trusting that their health is in good hands.
These simple questions could help open the door to a stronger relationship and give you the opportunity to help clients with one of the most important aspects of their lives – their health:
- Is there a medical condition that is taking a great deal of time to address for you or a member of your family? Would you like to have a professional “quarterback” who could help you manage that situation on a 24/7 basis?
- Would you like the same level of convenience, information and attention in all matters related to your family’s health that you receive for other concerns like your finances, investments and legal matters?
- Do you have in-depth information on and access to the best physicians, treatments and hospitals around the country?
- Would you like someone to take care of all the administrative details around doctors’ appointments – including scheduling, filling out forms, explanation of procedures, etc.?
- Do you have all your family members’ medical records collected and in one place for instant electronic access anywhere in the world?
- What would you do if you faced a medical emergency or illness while traveling away from home or internationally? Do you have a risk-management plan in place? Do you know where to go for qualified, expert care?
- Are you comfortable with the medical care and attention your parents are receiving? Is everything being coordinated and managed efficiently?
The goal here is learning how to engage with clients in a meaningful way and providing reassurance that there are other options available to help support their medical decisions and steer them to the top medical experts and centers of excellence.
With clients having less time or limited expertise to commit to researching important health care decisions, you can extend a helping hand that will coordinate their access to appropriate health care providers, open doors to top medical specialists; and shed new light on evidence-based treatment options, wherever and whenever your clients should need it.
Many of you are looking for innovative new solutions to serve your clients and build broader family connections for intergenerational planning. By bringing a trusted health advisor to the table, you can grow your value and strengthen these relationships, engaging other family members in the process. ♦