Thursday, April 01, 2010

Health Reform: New Opportunities for PR

Overall, the U.S. government’s health care reform program represents a wealth of valuable new opportunities for pharmaceutical, biotech and insurance companies to build relationships with an estimated 32 million newly covered patients … whether they’re buying insurance for the first time or, no longer job-locked, exploring alternative options. And public relations is the essential tool for relationship building with these new consumers.

While they will be contributing $85 billion toward the cost of the bill in the form of industry fees and lower prices over the next decade, pharmaceutical companies can also “look forward to tens of billions of dollars in additional revenue as more people with insurance visit doctors and fill prescriptions,” Reed Abelson wrote recently in The New York Times. Communications programs that support drug introductions, diagnosis and compliance will be essential.

Insurers have been among the most vocal opponents of reform — using the argument that young, healthy people would be unlikely to enroll if their premiums rose to help cover the care of older/sicker Americans. But insurers, too, will be benefiting from the influx of an estimated 16-20 million new customers after years of shrinking enrollments. The challenges they face also require our unique skill set. Public relations can help insurers educate their younger consumers, for example, about the benefits of buying coverage sooner, rather than later, and all new consumers, for example, on how to purchase insurance through state exchanges plus explaining the variety of programs that are offered.

Technorati Tags: health care reform, Reed Abelson, The New York Times, communications, public relations, Makovsky


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