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Affordable Care Act: The New Landscape for Healthcare Marketing

Apr 11, 2014 4:05:21 PM

In 2013 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, which changed the healthcare landscape drastically, and sent consumers and marketers into the flurry of a whole new system. We at Anderson Direct Marketing are intrigued with this restructure, both in a personal way and also for what it means to our clients in the healthcare space.

Facts and Perceptions

  • 1 in 6 Americans are uninsured – this is the primary driver for the ACA
    • ¼ of uninsured projected to enroll in a plan this year during the 2013-2014 open enrollment
    • An overwhelming number/amount of consumers do not understand ACA 40% said they were not aware of the exchanges
    • 50% believe that ACA will increase their insurance costs
    • Many of those who say they are “knowledgeable” about ACA get their information from a non-insurance owned and operated website
    • Biggest opportunity for insurers in the marketplace: The “Young and Convincible” (particularly males 18-34)
      • The “Young and Convincible” generation is most likely to be uninsured, previously receiving the name “Young Invincibles” by thinking that they don’t need health coverage at all
      • Social media is a great channel with great potential to reach this audience, serving as a place for people to ask questions, get referrals/opinions from friends and interact
        • However, keep in mind that not all of these individuals will want to share their personal info on social media
        • There are currently 3 channels of communication around ACA
          • Insurers to consumers
          • Insurers to agents
          • State to consumers
          • Blue Cross Blue Shield and the ACA
            • BCBS plans are frequently among the least expensive plans offered on the exchanges
            • Majority of Direct Mail specific to the ACA comes from BCBS affiliates
            • Exchanges
              • The CA exchange (State Exchange - Covered California) is the best state-run exchange at the moment
                • 80k people have enrolled on the CA exchange as of 11/19/2013
                • Covered California has an extensive online banner campaign in both English and Spanish
                • Covered California website content available in 12 languages

Marketing and the ACA

Marketers are primarily focusing on educating their consumers on the ACA and what it means for them and their families, rather than on product attributes and benefits. They’re speaking to consumers on topics ranging from basic education on ACA and why even young people need insurance, to whether or not a person or family will qualify for subsidies to lower premiums.

Quick educational tools such as short animated videos and/or questionnaires which help an individual learn more about their particular situation and what options are available to them (based on age, location, household income, etc.) are extremely common among marketers.

Future Considerations

Once the ACA’s newness wears off a bit and the general public is more aware of what it means, how will that change marketing efforts? Educational tools will continue to be needed; however, we can expect that in this next open enrollment season there will be an introduction of more product/plan-specific messaging. Given that all plans are mandated certain features in order to be offered on the exchange, what will be the best strategy for setting your plan apart from competitors’?

The ACA and new exchanges have changed the landscape of healthcare for many individuals and equally for insurance companies. Once open enrollment is complete, there will be a much better understanding of the successes and failures of the inaugural season. We will be back to share more insights from the past and look to the future for opportunities and potential pitfalls.


Source: “The State of the ACA: Consumers, Brands & Communication” presented by Mintel

Bethany Farrelly

Written by Bethany Farrelly

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