The Census Bureau estimates that in another 10 years, 16% of the American population will be 65 or above. This phenomenon, known as the Baby Boomers has added an interesting twist in the tale of health insurance in the country.

The Medicare Trustees Annual Report states that in 2011 a significant number of Americans will be added to the existing pool of 46.7 million Medicare beneficiaries. By 2029, this number is expected to be around 78.6 million people.

For many, this is a sign of the ageing American. But the health insurance companies should view it as a interesting business opportunity. In this large pool of senior citizens, lies a big market for Medicare-like health plans that cater to the 65+ population…

The opportunities in the age segment are immense, but there are certain restrictions that could prove to be speed breakers in an insurance company’s attempt in exploring this market. A few of the possible roadblocks could be:

–    Senior citizens are usually apprehensive about buying health plans from private insurers when government options are available
–    The government sponsored Medicare is the cheapest health plan for the aged and anyone who is above 65 is eligible for it, the family income notwithstanding.
–    Regulations by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect the seniors.

Some of these regulations include:

•    No unsolicited contact by insurance carriers
•    Electronic User Interface especially designed for individual with disabilities

But these regulations should not spell the end of the road for the health insurance companies. If the carriers can find their way around these regulations, they will be able to lay their hands on a large share of the pie. Here is a look at the possible options:-

1.    The online portal of the health insurance company should be such that senior citizens are able to navigate easily and do not feel alienated with the new medium.

2.    The health plan, the contract details, the jargons and the terminologies used in the policy should be easy to comprehend.

3.    Do not restrict yourself to the internet. Seek to provide additional information through other events like conducting seminars, meeting with the prospective clients personally, distributing free information kits, etc.

Providing medical coverage for the senior citizens is a huge market waiting to be tapped. There are may be more hurdles as compared to catering to other age segments, but the health insurance company that  executes well could  win a larger market share.

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