The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has begun to reshape the health care industry. The sharp increase in advertising expense for health insurers in 2013 is one of the indicators of this change, according to a report published by SNL.
The end of 2013 brought the rollout of the public health care exchanges under PPACA. This provided a "competitive landscape for insurers because the public exchanges serve as a platform for smaller regional players to enter the market," says the report.
The top ten big spenders:
- Humana Inc. spent $303.4 million on advertising in 2013, up 22.61 percent from $247.5 million in 2012. Their marketing strategy for last year incorporated print, television and other forms of advertising.
- WellPoint Inc. was second largest insurer in advertising expenses: $274.7 million, up 30.16 percent from $211.1 million in 2012.
- Even though UnitedHealth Group Inc. did not aggressively push into the public exchanges last year, they still spent $141.3 million on advertising in 2013, but it was less than the $180.0 million seen in 2012.
- Cigna Corp. also reported a decrease in advertising expense for 2013, dropping to $60.1 million from $69.4 million in 2012.
- Meanwhile, Aetna Inc. saw an increase in their expense: $57.9 million in 2013, up 10.21 percent from 2012, where they spent $52.5 million.
- Highmark Insurance Group also reported an increase in spending of 20.10 percent or $51.6 million for 2013, from $43 million the previous year.
- Health Care Service Corp. almost doubled their spending from $36.1 million in 2012 to $50.7 million in 2013 or 40.45 percent more.
- GuideWell Mutual Holding Corp. spent $45 million last year, up from the $39.7 million in 2012.
- Independence Blue Cross increased their spending 26.07 percent for 2013.
- The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. slightly increased their expense by 7.51 percent in 2013 with $35.4 million.
The report concludes that advertising expenses will continue climbing in 2014 as health insurers push into new markets.