Let’s be honest—most preventive care visits don’t really prevent illnesses. When we go to the doctor to get poked and prodded during our annual physical, most of the tests are intended to determine if we already have or are susceptible to something that, without treatment, could become more serious.

Don’t get us wrong, these tests are critically important, but we think they’re also misnamed. The goal of a preventive visit is to catch things early and intervene before they get worse. Think of it like pulling a weed as soon as you see it, before it grows, multiplies, and takes over your entire yard. But treating your yard so that those weeds never appear in the first place—that’s preventive care.

It’s about lifestyle choices

Preventive care really involves lifestyle choices that are made so that the conditions don’t occur in the first place: Exercise. Eating right. Getting plenty of sleep. Reducing stressors in your life. In other words, wellness.

It’s important that your clients understand the difference. Too often, people wait until after they’ve had a health scare to get in shape. We sometimes hear people say that a heart attack was actually a good thing because it served as a wake-up call and caused them to make some important changes. Or we hear of people with diabetes who control their condition with diet and exercise and actually see their health improve. This is great, but it’s also reactive. Wouldn’t it be better if people ate right and exercised more on a proactive basis? That’s what preventive care is all about.

The health plan can help

The good news is that many of today’s health plans not only cover preventive visits but have built-in wellness benefits as well. As a broker, your job is to make sure your clients are fully aware of these benefits. They can’t take advantage of them if they don’t know about them.

Benefits communication is important and can be a great way for brokers to differentiate themselves from the competition. With another agent, a client might get what he or she perceives as an overpriced health plan. With you, though, the client gets not only a health plan but also all sorts of ways to stay healthy so they may not actually need to use the health insurance. You might be selling the same product to the client, but if you can explain it better than your competitors can, you’re actually offering a better and more complete solution.

Our work is important

Make no mistake, the products we sell can save people’s lives. We have a for-profit health care system in this country, and those who provide this care like to know that they’re going to get paid for the services they provide. Health insurance is a way to guarantee this payment, so it really is a requirement if people want access to the best care possible. Agents sell access to life-saving medical care.

Additionally, the wellness and preventive benefits, if explained properly, can also save people’s lives, or at least help them enjoy life more. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of your clients and their family members. Make sure you’re telling them how to stay healthy so they don’t end up needing medical care.