Insulting Seniors
by Roberta B. Turner

Thank goodness the Medicare enrollment period ended in December.  The commercials promoting the various health care options are unbearable and show how much these companies are out of touch.

Insulting seniors seems to be the norm for most of these companies. You have a white-haired older woman with oversized glasses acting ridiculous about calling to check on new benefits; you have fake singing and dancing people with a very offensive male’s voice; and the list could go on and on. The frequency of their ad buys shows how much money these companies earn from our government. It also makes it next to impossible to ignore them. The worst part is they repeat the same bad commercials year after year from October to December.

There are many people over 65 who are far more attractive and intelligent than the Medicare health care companies have selected to represent and insult an entire generation.  Most of the female seniors I know have brown, blonde and even auburn hair.  They dress well and do not look like little old ladies. The senior men I know also look and act far younger than portrayed.   They also have the desire to look young and use various medical treatments like Botox and cosmetic surgery to assist in the process.  Plus, we have many Dermatologists that specialize in various beauty treatments that can make a difference. Approximately one-third of seniors today are part of the work force and contribute to the economy.

The Light Magazine’s parent company is a marketing and advertising firm that has been operating since 1978 and at one point was very involved in the healthcare industry representing statewide and national companies from health care providers to hospital chains.  We actually introduced the first Medicare HMO in the country, which today is Humana Health. We used credible people discussing the benefits of the company, people like George Burns. The company grew from zero membership to over 250,000 members in its first year of operation, which was a difficult task.  It was the first time seniors had to be convinced to give up their Medicare rights to the company.  But the right type of marketing and advertising worked.  We also used focus groups prior to launching a campaign for the type of people we were going to be recruiting to test whether the message we were going to use worked.

I have been tempted to write letters to these companies to tell them how insulting their advertising is to many people, but I am not sure it would make a difference.  Maybe it is a much younger generation making these pathetic choices.  Or, maybe other states in the country have a different type of senior than the seniors we have in South Florida.

I know my friends and I plan to stay as young and with it as we were in earlier times of our lives.  I think this is reality today for Baby Boomers and it’s a shame we are cast into this ridiculous stereotype that the health care providers are insulting us with.