The mall is becoming a hangout for insurance agents.

 Health insurers adding ‘pop-up’ stores to malls, shopping centers

Christopher Snobeck
Pioneer Press / Twincities.com

October 24, 2012

The mall is becoming a hangout for insurance agents.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, Bloomington-based HealthPartners plans to open a temporary store at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka so shoppers on their way to Jamba Juice or Aeropostale can stop to buy health plans.

The opening of the “pop-up” shop helps mark the local arrival of a national trend in which more health insurers are trying to reach customers by selling policies in malls, shopping centers and retail storefronts.

Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is experimenting with retail this fall, too, by offering information on Medicare insurance policies at nine Walgreen stores in Minnesota. Insurers such as Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group are making even
Shopping for health insurance bigger bets on retail.

Among other things, the companies are testing whether storefronts are a good way to reach the millions of new insurance customers who are expected to start buying individual policies late next year because of the federal health care overhaul law.

“There’s this sense of leaving money on the table if you don’t come in and explain why people should be buying not just your product, but any product,” said Steve Parente, a health care finance expert at the University of Minnesota. “It’s just to have broader consumer engagement and to answer questions in the market.”

Beyond the federal law, the continuing decline in the number of employers providing coverage, plus the addition of aging baby boomers into the Medicare …Read the complete article

 
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