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Humana planning major social media campaign around Affordable Care Act

by Niki King

Lewis Bertolucci, social media manager for Humana

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is many things though “fun, simple and engaging” probably don’t come readily to mind.

Nevertheless, Humana Inc sees social media – where fun, simple and engaging rule – as an integral part of a larger strategy to communicate changes the national health care legislation is bringing.

Louisville’s Fortune 100 health insurer/health care provider will soon roll out a new online campaign around the Affordable Care Act. It hopes to reach some of the 50 million health care consumers who will be new to the market as a result of the act through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Insider Louisville recently chatted with Lewis Bertolucci, head of social media for Humana, about the strategy.

Bertolucci said his primary task will be educating new seekers of health care who may be overwhelmed with questions and options. He said they’ll present information slowly until it builds into a whole picture for their online users.

They’ll be thinking, “I need to figure this out, who do I go with?” he said. “Slowly you consume this in bite-sized pieces, and you learn and eventually have enough information to make a decision.”

Bertolucci said his team of six social media strategists will target young people who may be coming off their parents’ plan and purchasing health care on their own for the first time, moms who may be making a decision for their kids and families and individuals who may not have purchased health care before.

“We want to be as targeted and focused as possible and Facebook allows us to do that,” he said.

Some parts of the Affordable Care Act have already taken effect, but The Health Insurance Marketplace begins October this year. The Marketplace allows individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health plans. Tax Credits for Families will be available in 2014 for those with income between 100% and 400% of the poverty line who are not eligible for other affordable coverage.

Bertolucci said infographics and video will be a big content component of the overall strategy.

“That’s how people learn now,” he said.

But all online elements, he said, will encourage users to visit other places where they can get more in-depth information, whether that’s stand-alone websites, call center representatives or a brochure in the mail.

Bertolluci said one challenge is getting users to think of Humana not just as an insurance claims company, but also as its expanding role as a primary care and wellness services company, where you can get news you can use about all forms of health care.

Another challenge is that content produced by health care companies is heavily regulated by the government, he said, although social media is a grayer area than traditional advertising.

And, within the framework of those challenges, the content has to meet company objectives, without coming off as overly corporate.

“It’s not just pushing,” Bertolucci said. “We have to be where the conversation is.”

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