HMOs Increasingly Target Hispanic Market

“In the last year or so, many of the major HMOs have been stepping-up their web presences,” says Jose Villa CEO of California interactive agency firm Sensis. “They seem to be moving toward complete site translation, whereas before, many just had micro-sites in Spanish."

Villa’s firm was commissioned to conduct the study by United Health Care, which launched UHC Latino late last year. The company tracks online advertising activity with Nielsen. “What we’ve found is that each company is very different in their approaches. There hasn’t been a consistent strategy from most of these companies. They’ll make a big change and then the site will stagnate, sit there, and all of a sudden start up again,” says Villa.

Villa says that in California, which is an enormous market for Hispanic healthcare initiaves, Kaiser Permanente topped the list in terms of advertising investment. Most of this spend went to TV and Radio, although it also ran some banner ads on local Univision websites, like Channel 34 in L.A. In California, Kaiser Permanente is the de facto choice for Hispanics seeking healthcare. This is due largely to the company’s model, which involves an integrated healthcare facility where all stripes of medical specialists are found in one enormous complex. This is a model that is familiar to many Latin Americans, as opposed to the common U.S. model where different types of providers are located in various locations in a given city.

Blue Shield/ Blue Cross Anthem has been working with Impremedia, running print and online ads with La Opinion.

Most HMO advertising takes place during open enrollment in November, when employees typically sign up for medical coverage.

Of all the major HMO’s, only UHC Latino and Blue Shield/Blue Cross Anthem offer online provider search in Spanish. This function is cited by members as extremely important to determine which doctors are in-plan and which ones speak Spanish.

Related Articles:
September 24, 2007: Health is wealth: Hispanic Women’s Health Magazines Gain Traction

February 1, 2005: Pharma advertising: Hispanic print, an underutilized resource by Pharma advertisers