Healthcare companies competing for uninsured Hoosiers

Buying health insurance is not as straightforward as this, but hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers now have more options.

The tables are turning for thousands of Hoosiers who couldn't get health insurance until now. In fact, insurance companies are actually competing for their business.

Eyewitness News examines why the insurance industry is reaching out, and what it means for the bottom line.

It's fall break at the Indianapolis Zoo. An access ticket allows numerous choices in regards to what to see inside.

When it comes to decisions about health care, parents are facing a different animal - a changing dynamic in the world of insurance. Mailers like the one Eyewitness News obtained from Anthem are showing up across Central Indiana. The mailers are proof insurance companies are now courting consumers.

"It's always been about the insurance companies. It's good that they're being forced to offer better insurance to consumers," said Danielle Miller, who enjoyed a picnic lunch outside the zoo Monday. Miller's son has asthma. Before now, that meant almost certain higher rates for health insurance. But under the Affordable Care Act, she gets to pick a plan that fits her pocketbook and insurance companies are taking notice.

"In many ways it's a whole new ballgame," confirmed Tony Felts, the Communications Director at Anthem. He says 27 million Americans are expected to purchase health benefits online by 2017. That includes an estimated 800,000 uninsured Hoosiers.

"All of us are out there competing to try to offer health insurance coverage to those uninsured Hoosiers," explained Felts.

It's why Anthem is getting its name and its message out.

Other plans like MedWise were at the zoo over the weekend doing the same.

"It might give more people an opportunity to look around and see what's going to be best suited for them and tailor it to their needs. But again it just depends on what they're going to offer to everyone," said Mike Flores, who was visiting the zoo with his two children.

"They're probably going to offer a better deals and deductibles and stuff, now so that they don't lose their customers," added Miller.

In this month's Forbes Magazine, healthcare analysts say: "These improvements will change what it takes for health insurers to "win" the game. Rather than focusing on risk avoidance, insurance companies will need to compete at the delivery-system level, where care is provided."

On Tuesday, Anthem will take its marketing campaign to the lobby of Community Hospital East to begin a series of enrollment events across the state. Anthem's goal: to add thousands to the four million people it already insures in Indiana.

Tuesday's Marketplace insurance enrollment event is from 4pm to 7 pm.