As the boon of social media continues, insurers are in a scramble to better understand how this powerful tool can be used in their marketing efforts. And the market is ripening. According to a recent Aite Group study of 1,800 consumers' health behaviors, 86 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29, and 57 percent of those aged 70 years or older have Facebook accounts.

Further, 37 percent of consumers between ages 30 and 39 believe they will "probably" or "definitely" consider shopping for health insurance at healthcare exchanges.

So where does this leave health insurers? Apparently they have some work to do to engage this burgeoning market, says Aite. Overall, an average of only 12 percent of consumers indicated that they follow at least one of their health insurance companies on the social networking sites they visit. Of this limited number, most mainly follow in order to receive safety tips, interesting facts, ideas for saving money, tips on health, diet and nutrition, and information on various insurance-plan designs.

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