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Health ad spending jumps

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Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) market changes drove a dramatic increase in health insurer advertising spending in 2013.

The top 15 health insurers tracked by SNL Financial spend $1.2 billion on advertising in 2013 – 15 percent more than they spent in 2012. Ad spending at all health insurers in the database increased 2013 ad spending by 13 percent, to a total of $1.7 billion.

The SNL analysis included health insurers that file health statutory annual statements. The database excludes carriers that file as “accident and health or other operations” inside life company or property-casualty annual statements.

WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP) made a point of jumping into the new PPACA public health insurance exchange system.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) and Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI) took a more measured approach.

WellPoint spent 30 percent more on advertising in 2013 than it spent the year before, according to SNL data. Ad spending fell 13 percent at Cigna and 21 percent at UnitedHealth.