Insurers partner with health kiosks to target marketing

To drum up more interest in their health plans, some insurers are partnering with companies that operate health screening kiosks. The deals involve insurers buying consumers' personal information from the companies so they can market directly to those consumers, according to The California Report.

SoloHealth owns more than 3,500 kiosks, most frequently found in supermarkets and drug stores, that let people check their blood pressure or weight. The Atlanta-based company plans to install an additional 1,500 machines throughout the country this year.

Insurers have been buying the information SoloHealth collects during blood pressure and weight checks, including names, email addresses and phone numbers. "As much as we've moved to the market, the market has really moved to us," SoloHealth CEO Bart Foster told The California Report. "We're able to provide much more detailed information than the health plans even know what to do with today."

One of those insurers taking advantage of the data is Anthem Blue Cross, which now has an agreement with SoloHealth to be the only insurer featured on kiosks throughout California.

"We know that engaging consumers early and engaging them with our messaging helps improve the chances of them choosing Anthem as their health plan," said spokesperson Darrel Ng. 

Under their deal, SoloHealth added a new voice to its machines that offers to help consumers understand the reform law, including saying an "experienced professional" can reach out to help them find the plan meeting their specific needs.

Anthem and other insurers' unique marketing efforts could prove fruitful, especially in California, considering a survey recently found a large majority of California residents are unaware whether they qualify for subsidy benefits, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Despite the growing popularity--Walmart and Sam's Club deployed 2,500 such machines in U.S. stores in April--the health kiosks raise privacy concerns, as FierceHealthIT previously noted. In fact, privacy advocates claim Anthem's strategy violates consumers' privacy because the voice doesn't clarify that the professional is an insurance broker until after consumers enter their names and email information, accoding to The California Report.

To learn more:
- read The California Report article

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