HealthLeaders-InterStudy, the leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is turning to a retail location to push its insurance products in what has emerged as a growing trend in healthcare. According to the latest Florida Health Plan Analysis, the state's largest nonprofit insurer has opened its first retail location at a Jacksonville mall, with plans to expand the concept this year.
"Blue Cross looks to be at the forefront of a growing movement in insurance to operate interactive retail stores," states Roy Moore, market analyst for HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report. "The insurer is going where its potential customers are while helping enhance its brand in those markets."
The health plan is selling its full slate of products for the Medicare market and those for the under-65 buyer, including health, dental, life insurance and long-term care offerings. The store sells available products, services current clients and hosts health fairs and seminars, which could attract curious customers. With the first store now open, Blue Cross is looking to open two more this year that will be similar to the Jacksonville operations.
"Higher end malls have turned into the new downtowns for suburban residents. Their visitors are often the young people who do not have insurance and are becoming increasingly hard to target through traditional means of advertising. In addition, the mall locale also puts the company closer to its potential Medicare clients, many of whom used the mall for their daily walks," continued Mr. Moore.
Health Net pioneered the retail-based insurance concept with the development of a community enrollment and customer service center in East Los Angeles to serve the Latino population. In an effort to get its Medicare operations off the ground, the health plan also opened a Medicare store at a high-traffic mall in Mesa, Arizona, and another one in Connecticut. Health Net used its 2,500-square-foot space to inform seniors about the various Medicare offerings, especially those that involve complex formularies or gap coverage.
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