Would you go to the mall to buy health insurance or service your existing policy? Some companies are betting you would.
NPR is reporting some health insurers are planning to establish a retail-type presence, by setting up physical stores.
Reason: The healthcare reform law is going to require everyone to obtain health insurance. And with some employers dropping — or planning to drop — their group health coverage, business on the individual market may pick up.
As a result, insurers like Highmark in Pennsylvania, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida are establishing stores where individuals can buy a policy, check on a claim or just take an educational class, reports NPR.
In the report, a spokesman for eHealthInsurance.com, an online insurance provider, says the retail stores could help consumers learn about — and become more comfortable with — buying insurance.
After all, consumers may feel more inclined to seek out one-on-one help in a setting like that, rather than over the phone or online.
But the spokesman says eHealthInsurance.com isn’t afraid of retail stores taking a bite out of its business. He says after they get face-to-face assistance, consumers may still go online to price shop. Plus, he says the in-person experience can take some of the fear out of the insurance-buying process.
Do you think retail health insurance stores would help educate consumers and take some of the fear out of buying insurance? Share your opinions of them in the Reply box below.
Source: “Coming To A Strip Mall Near You, A Health Insurance Store,” Michelle Andrews, NPR.org, 2/28/12.