Published On: 04/11/2014

Medical Careers 2The passing of the most recent deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has left many people asking, “what’s next?” For some this is an extremely important question. One group greatly affected by the legislation is insurance companies. The impact will even be evident in how they market themselves.

For years, marketing health insurance was primarily a B2B endeavor. Insurance companies only had to worry about communicating with businesses. Consumer marketing didn’t play a huge role. That is about to change. With more Americans shopping for their own coverage, insurance marketers have to develop a B2C strategy to reach consumers. This is true whether or not they take part in one of the Health Exchanges set up by the ACA.

The aspect of the ACA that has the biggest impact on marketing is the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR); the so-called 80/20 rule. Basically, this says that 80% of premium dollars collected by an insurance company must be spent on care. That leaves just 20% for things like administrative costs, marketing and of course profit.

This means insurance marketers have to build an entirely new B2C strategy, and have less money do it. Here are a few ways they can be more efficient with their budgets, and acquire customers in this new environment.

Content Strategy
Content used to educate consumers is considered “quality improvement” rather than marketing, and counts toward the 80% of the MLR. Content can be used across multiple channels including social media and video. The education it provides creates a positive brand association, and increases engagement with consumers.

SEO
With consumers now actively looking for their own insurance options, search engines are their primary resource for information. SEO is relatively inexpensive, but should be handled by someone familiar with the latest search engine guidelines. It also helps keep a brand top of mind, and sets it apart from the competition.

Data
Data can be tricky when it comes to protecting patient identity, but that doesn’t mean research can’t be used to help define this new B2C audience. Data can also be used to track the effectiveness of a campaign. Knowing the audience improves efficiency, and using data to track a campaign improves marketing ROI.

These are just a few examples of what insurance companies can be doing to generate new customers in this extremely competitive marketplace. The ACA is not going away, so those that learn to work with it will be successful.