Surveys have shown that the majority of consumers support the option of a public health insurance plan as part of health care reform. This puts health insurers at a higher level of competition, and they are already stepping up direct mail in anticipation, according to Daniel Hayes, VP of insurance services at Mintel Comperemedia. Congress is crafting health insurance reform proposals now, but insurance companies have already been getting ready for change. The direct marketing competitive intelligence provider saw health insurers increase marketing direct mail offers to individuals by 18% in the past twelve months.

Mintel Comperemedia’s direct mail database shows health insurers positioning themselves as high quality and focused on the individual, not just the employer. For example, United Healthcare advertises affordability and choice in its new UnitedHealthOne brand, while Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia’s SmartSense plan focuses on low costs for the unemployed, according to Mintel. Taking a slightly different angle, Kaiser Permanente’s direct mail emphasizes general health and wellbeing, claiming “we’ll help you live well, be well, and thrive.”

A recent Mintel survey on attitudes toward health insurance reveals nine out of 10 adults (92%) think they should be able to obtain coverage from whichever company they want. More than two-thirds (69%) think the federal government should provide tax credits for people to buy health insurance individually.

“Health insurers are actually eager to work with the legislature on affordable, accessible health care,” Hayes says. “But they realize that government reform will likely mean increased competition, so insurers are trying to raise the public’s awareness of their plans, benefits and belief systems.”

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