With more than 10 million U.S. Hispanics eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, an opportunity is wide open for players in the new health economy, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute.
The report, "Hispanics: A Growing Force in the New Health Economy," highlights the opportunities and challenges that traditional health-care organizations face when addressing the demands of the Hispanic market.
"Hispanics have tremendous consumer purchasing power, but our research shows that they have also been more likely than other consumers to delay health care, and don't have great trust in the U.S. health system," said Frank Lemmon, principal, PwC US health industries.
Referring to U.S. Hispanics as a "largely untapped source of revenue," Mr. Lemmon added that "these long-standing behaviors and attitudes are ripe for change."
The research included a nationwide survey of 500 Hispanics and 500 non-Hispanic consumers, focus groups of Hispanics and non-Hispanics in Dallas and New York City, social media monitoring, and interviews with industry professionals.
"Respecting the nuances of this diverse market will be critical for companies looking to build trust and market share among the Hispanic population," said Randy Delgado, director, PwC US health industries.
The study revealed six key consumer insights regarding the Hispanic market.
1. Cost is most important to Hispanics when it comes to care.
2. Hispanics are less likely to use a doctor as primary caregiver in a nonemergency, opting for community health clinics, retail clinics, and pharmacists.
3. Hispanics are more likely to use social media, mobile apps and Internet searches to find information about doctors and insurance companies, and are more likely to be influenced by the information.
4. Hispanics are less likely to share personal information than other consumers.
5. Hispanics are more likely to live in multigenerational households and may be helping manage others' health conditions, including individuals unfamiliar with the U.S. health system.
6. Regardless of income, education, and insurance status, some Hispanics would rather cross borders to seek care, and travel to their birth countries to buy lower-cost medicine for the entire family.
HRI suggests remembering four key elements when trying to reach the Hispanic market.
First, recognize that nontraditional health businesses and new entrants to the market might have an advantage. Hispanics are cost conscious, mobile savvy, and less likely to seek care within the traditional U.S. health-care system.
Second, health-care companies looking to reach the Hispanic market will have to earn their trust. Partnerships with community organizations is essential to succeed with a group that is reluctant to share personal information.
Third, focus on online and mobile platforms. The Hispanic community lives in cyberspace. To reach them, companies have to tap into social and mobile platforms that are popular with Hispanics.
Fourth, respect the traditional and generational nuances of the Hispanic market. Hispanics are not a uniform group. Businesses should develop strategies for different Hispanic ethnicities and generations, and for addressing ingrained habits and cultural preferences.
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