There are still three months to go for people to enroll in health plans under the Affordable Care Act, but insurers don’t want to rely solely on state or federal websites to find them. Some are finding a path to new customers by partnering with companies that operate health-screening kiosks –- those machines in supermarkets and drug stores where people check their blood pressure or weight, Kaiser Health News reports.
Many such machines are owned by a company based near Atlanta called SoloHealth. It started installing the kiosks in Walmart and other retail stores in 2008 to give people a way to keep better track of their health. Today there are more than 3,500 SoloHealth stations across the U.S. and the company plans to install another 1,500 this year.
SoloHealth first made money by selling ads for pharmacy items displayed near the kiosks. But in the era of healthcare reform, it happened upon a new business model. The data it collects is suddenly very valuable to health insurance companies, writes KHN.
The company is selling its data about people who have used SoloHealth kiosks -- including names, email addresses and phone numbers -- to insurers who want to market health plans directly to consumers. Now that all Americans are required to have insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty, insurers are looking for new ways of finding potential customers, and competing with each other to get their attention. Read the story.