In the next few years, health insurance marketing will change beyond recognition.

The power of the Internet to help consumers discover, evaluate, and purchase products has changed the way they shop for almost everything –from books and diapers to vacations and cars. Post ACA, the consumerization of healthcare has arrived, and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.

View video— see how a major health insurer is reaching the right consumers.

Now, insurance customers have choice: the choice to compare brands, plan features and price. And they’ll be doing this online, which means your marketing strategies need to change.  With $400B in premiums at stake, there will be huge first-mover advantage for healthcare companies that quickly adopt new B2C marketing technologies. Being able to identify and segment prospects – and then personalize offers and messages for them – will earn you huge returns.

Consider these statistics.

  1. Consumers check an average of 12 online resources before picking a health plan.

You thought shoe shoppers were particular? The majority of health insurance shoppers takes a month or longer to decide. Seventy-five percent uses an online search engine, reports Google’s “Shopper Sciences Zero Moment of Truth” insurance study.  Sixty-four percent comparison-shop. The consumer’s journey is long. To make sure you’re on the map, segment audiences, target precisely and customize ads.

  1. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans would consider buying insurance via Amazon or Google, according to Accenture.

Consumers of all kinds want a great shopping experience, whether for health or car insurance, kitchenware or clothes. Who delivers better than online giants excelling in selection, price, convenience and customer support? Imagine: “Customers who bought this plan medical plan also bought dental...” Smart marketing like this requires data and analytics to identify customers, across devices, and personalized recommendations.

  1. Almost 1 in 3 health insurance searches happen on mobile.

That’s according to ad-tech company Centro. Yes, younger shoppers—Millennials especially—rely heavily on mobile for gathering product facts. But though tablet sales have slowed, phones are getting bigger and easier to use, some morphing into phablets easier on older eyes. Don’t be surprised to see more Boomers browsing on mobile. Likewise, don’t be surprised if you spend more of your marketing dollars to pinpoint mobile identities, across generations.

  1. There’s up to $400B in premiums at stake—more than the GDP of 21 countries.

Driven by people’s plans to switch providers—in the first half of 2014 individual plan enrollment spiked by 50 percent—the revenue at stake is truly mind-blowing. To put it into perspective, the mobile industry is projected to contribute $400B to the U.S. economy in 2015, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. In fact, in 2013 the entire B2C ecommerce market was just under the $400B mark.

How do you get your share? You don’t need to become a soda brand overnight, but it’s time to embrace the remade healthcare industry as an online consumer marketplace. That means getting busy with data and analytics, segmentation, cross-device tracking and personalized dialogue with your customers.  

It’s a lot of work, but most revolutions are.

To learn more check out our Infographic on the $400 billion in premiums up for grabs: