PACIFICARE: Insurer, Compaq to Launch Joint Web Site for Seniors
PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., the nation's largest operator of Medicare HMOs, announced yesterday it plans to partner with Compaq Computer Corp. to launch an Internet company targeting seniors, the Los Angeles Times reports. Called SeniorCo, the new company will receive $5 million in cash and assets from PacifiCare and $14 million in cash from Compaq. Despite its smaller investment, PacifiCare will have controlling interest in the company. SeniorCo already has acquired Senior.com, an ecommerce site offering seniors information on a variety of topics including health and financial services (Hernandez, 6/28). The expanded site also will feature chat rooms and links to other ecommerce sites. Craig Schub, a PacifiCare executive who will head SeniorCo, said that the new company's goal is to "become a trusted reference to seniors, where they can talk to other seniors and find the kind of information that is relevant to their lifestyles" (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 6/28). Noting that the insurer covers 1.1 million seniors in its Secure Horizons USA Medicare HMO and 3 million members in commercial plans, PacifiCare CEO Alan Hoops said that the company "needs to have significant presence on the Internet." He added, "Through crossover advertising opportunities, we expect to gain brand visibility ... [that] will give us access to the senior market that we wouldn't be able to achieve efficiently otherwise." The Web site soon will provide a link to PacifiCare's site and offer an online store featuring Compaq products (Los Angeles Times, 6/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.