Posts Tagged ‘Highmark Inc. of Pennsylvania’

Buying Health Insurance From a Storefront

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I must say that I’m really intrigued by the concept of store fronts where they sell health insurance.  According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s “Health care coverage sold in stores,” Alex Nussbaum says that UnitedHealth Group is one of the driving forces behind this change in the industry.  As the largest medical insurer in the United States, UnitedHealth Group is trying out this retail plan in anticipation of the health care changes taking place in 2014.  When the individual health insurance mandate goes into effect, there could be 85 million people comparing plans as they shop in public and private health insurance exchanges.  Those Americans account for nearly $600 billion in spending power.

UnitedHealth has already opened 8 retail health insurance stores in the U.S., mostly for helping current customers now, but hopefully to bring new business in as well.  Their storefront locations are located from New York to Los Angeles.  The company has also made 16 mall locations throughout the central U.S. permanent retail shops.  Opening retail storefronts is a way for health insurance companies to get their name out there and let potential customers know how much help they can offer when they can walk in just as they do to their bank.

Highmark, Inc. of Pennsylvania has already opened 9 storefronts, while Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida has 11 places for customers to get health insurance information.  Experts point out that these retail stores have to provide valuable services to their customers and potential customers in order to gain any significant business from the storefronts.  They can’t just be a marketing tool; they have to add value and really help consumers.  Answer questions that no one else can, give discounts not available elsewhere, and really help consumers figure out how the new health care laws affect them and their health insurance.  But many people appreciate all of the extras offered in addition to information.  Some storefronts offer blood pressure and other health checks or are attached to medical care facilities.  Others have translators for many languages and toys to keep children occupied while parents get information on anything from healthy eating to health insurance quotes.  Next time you are walking down the street and see a health insurance storefront, you may want to stop in and check it out.