Smart Benefits: Health Insurers Go Retail
Monday, October 21, 2013
A Regional and National Trend
The insurers, many of whom are participating on the federal and state exchanges, know they need to build relationships with these individuals, many of whom previously had employer coverage, and are looking to malls as a good place to start.
- UnitedHealthcare currently has 20 retail locations nationally spanning from New York to California.
- In Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Fallon Community Health Plan offers a retail information center at the White City Shopping Center.
- Several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans across the country have opened stores as well, the latest of which is in Rhode Island.
First RI Outlet Opens
Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI last week unveiled its first retail location, The Blue Advantage Center, at Cowesset Corners in Warwick. At the location, Rhode Islanders can purchase a health plan for themselves or their family, explore their Medicare options or get assistance with their current BCBSRI plan.
According to Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and CEO of BCBSRI, “Health insurance hasn’t been thought of as something we typically ‘shop’ for, like clothes or groceries. With the effects of healthcare reform, people have more choices than ever before and more ways to purchase insurance; they will review the options and select the plan that’s the best fit. With Rhode Islanders playing a more active role in the health insurance process, The Blue Advantage Center aims to be another outlet/resource for them as they shop, providing them with a place to meet with a salesperson, ask questions and discuss their decision.”
Offering More than Information
Insurers know it can be difficult to talk about healthcare with consumers because of the complexity involved. By offering retail settings with friendly, approachable staff, the carriers are aiming to remove some of the mystery that surrounds the topic. And many are finding that a good way to do this is to provide more than information and engage shoppers with activities like biometric health screenings stations, healthy cooking demos and onsite wellness classes.
Good for Business
It’s not just consumers who benefit from the new outlets; the stores enable the carriers to embed themselves in the community and strengthen their relationships with customers. That’s why insurers are just the latest in a line of industries to go local – like the return of the community bank.
So watch for a health insurance retailer coming soon to your neighborhood.
- Smart Benefits: Counting Employees Right For Healthcare Compliance
- Smart Benefits: Health Insurance Stores? Yes.
- Smart Benefits: Obamacare Delay Helps Employers Prepare
- Smart Benefits: Employer Exchange Model Notice Released Early
- Smart Benefits: Healthcare Reform Delays Hit Consumers Hard
- Smart Benefits: Obamacare Mandates: What Is And Isn’t Delayed
- Smart Benefits: Employers Are Okay With Sleeping On The Job
- Smart Benefits: Healthcare Reform Will Limit Plan Design Choices
- Smart Benefits: Reverse Auctions Bring Down Health Benefit Costs
- Smart Benefits: Employers Are Tangled Up in Healthcare Reform
- Smart Benefits: Healthcare Reform—Big Rewards for Wellness in ‘14
- Smart Benefits: Switching to HSAs May Reduce Healthcare Spending
- Smart Benefits: 3 Ways Obamacare Hurts Employees
- Smart Benefits: Employers Who Ignore Obamacare Will Pay
- Smart Benefits: Mobile Apps + iPads The Key To Wellness Success
- Smart Benefits: Taxpayers Could Get Stung By Local Healthcare Cost
- Smart Benefits: 5 Health Benefit Cost-Cutting Trends To Watch In 2014
- Smart Benefits: Employers/Insurers To Foot Healthcare Reform Fees
- Smart Benefits: More Taxes, Less Pay
- Smart Benefits: 5 Reasons Why Healthcare Reform Hurts Workers
- Smart Benefits: Gay Marriage Ruling + Employer Compliance
- Smart Benefits: NE Health Exchanges—Who’s Ahead, Who’s Behind?
- Smart Benefits: Be Prepared For Fall Open Enrollment Changes
- Smart Benefits: HSA Contribution Limits Rise For 2014
- Smart Benefits: New Wellness Tax Credits for MA Employers