Payers launch ad blitz to win new customers


With one week left before the Affordable Care Act's individual health insurance enrollment deadline, payers are saturating the media with ads promoting their products, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Insurers, state exchanges and the federal government sunk $194 million into local television TV advertising between Oct.1 and Nov. 10, not far below the $216 million spent for ads throughout 2012, the WSJ noted.

However, only $55 million of the total $306 million on local TV ad spending since July 1 went toward ad spots that either explicitly or implicitly referenced healthcare reform, the report found, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Insurers had delayed their exchange-product marketing efforts in light of snafus and widespread confusion about reinstatement of canceled plans. But now the gloves are off:

WellPoint will spend as much as $100 million by year end on multi-media ads focusing on young adults, the highly-coveted prospects whose enrollment may balance the cost of insuring older, sicklier Americans.

Aetna hired renowned advertising agents to build brand equity and reach healthy adults through a prime time TV ad campaign. Cigna is running similar spots in Texas, Florida and other markets. And the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, led by a former Proctor & Gamble marketer of Revlon cosmetics, developed an ad campaign urging Americans to "live fearless," WSJ noted.     

Direct customer advertising is new for many payers, which historically have pitched their products to employer groups. So it's no surprise health insurers reside among the lowest-scoring industries measured in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, dangling at the bottom of that list with cable providers, airline and telecommunication companies, WSJ noted.

For more:
- read the WSJ article

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