Put elderly in health fund ads, says ministry

It's cheaper to insure young and healthy, and the make a better image, so they - and not elderly - are more often in health ads.

Elderly couple 520 (photo credit: Paul E. Rodriguez/Orange County Register/MCT)
Elderly couple 520
(photo credit: Paul E. Rodriguez/Orange County Register/MCT)
As it’s cheaper to insure the young and healthy, and makes for a better image, the health funds rarely portray the elderly in their marketing campaigns.
Good-looking couples with young children are almost always displayed instead. The dearth of older people in the insurers’ advertising was the reason for complaint on Monday by Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Yoel Lipschitz, who supervises the health funds.
Lipschitz, in a letter to the marketing directors of all four health funds, said failure to represent all groups who are members creates estrangement and makes it appear as if the insurer doesn’t care about them and doesn’t invest in them. At the same time, the elderly generally need more health services, guidance and direction, as well as recognition, Lipschitz said.
He demanded the health funds establish a new publicity and marketing policy in 2012 that will integrate the elderly and allocate a “significant amount of their resources” – at least 25 percent – in such activities so they benefit and represent the elderly population over 65 as well.
Lipschitz demanded that in the health funds’ annual reports on their expenses for advertising, marketing and promotion in 2012 they include specific data on what they are doing in representing and serving older people among their membership.