Healthcare Reform’s Impact on Healthcare PR

This Fall, 30 million Americans will be doing something many of them have never done before–shopping for a health insurance policy. As the Affordable Care Act is implemented on the first day of October, the timing also happens to coincide with the period when millions more already insured Americans will be facing their annual choices around open enrollment for their employers’ health plans. This confluence of events represents one of the greatest challenges AND opportunities in the history of healthcare public relations.

Ironically, many of the groups who lobbied against the Affordable Care Act have abruptly shifted gears and are now already playing an aggressive role in educating Americans about their new healthcare choices. Every group has a huge financial interest, not just insurance companies but hospitals and healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies down to your corner drug store.

The Affordable Care Act is so sweeping it will have ripples throughout our entire economy. Small businesses may well decide to stay small to avoid having to offer group health insurance. Many Americans may choose to pay the fine rather than enroll. And, because tax-credit subsidies will help millions afford health insurance, tax preparers like H&R Block will likely be swamped with an influx of  questions from existing customers as well as a tidal wave of new customers who find the resulting new tax code too complex.

The key demographic is young adults. Many of those over 26 will be forced to move off their parents’ insurance plans. This is a demographic that doesn’t always own a cable or satellite TV subscription—they get their video entertainment off YouTube or Netflix. They may favor text messaging over e-mail or social media like Facebook. For young men, their most trusted healthcare confidant is Mom. One key target may be educating Mothers of young men to talk to their sons about their healthcare options.

And because America is multi-lingual, there will be a huge demand for this information in other languages, particularly Spanish. There will also be a greater emphasis on patient education and particularly preventive medicine, which goes hand in hand. These are all skills in the healthcare PR practitioners tool box.

To learn more, join PRSA LA for “Healthcare Reform’s Impact on Healthcare PR Opportunities, Challenges and Best Practices.” You can register for the July 24th event here:|904|903|905