Google’s New Healthcare Advertising Policy Requires Two Certification Steps – June 2021 Inna Zeyger Published: May 7, 2021 3 min read Categories: Paid Media Starting June 2, 2021, Google will update its healthcare and medicines policy. Health insurance providers are required to complete two steps to continue advertising on Google. Third-party advertisers can support providers for the second step of this process. This update requires immediate action to continue advertising on Google past June 2, 2021. Certification Process + Application + Instructions To continue advertising on Google Ads, health insurance providers will need to: Apply for G2 Certification. G2 is a Google-sourced risk assessment and verification company. Once a complete application is submitted, the turnaround time is 14 or less business days.After submitting the G2 application, apply for Google Healthcare advertiser whitelisting. The turnaround time is 5 to 10 business days. Important Dates May 3, 2021 – G2 Certification portal opens for applications. June 2, 2021 – Google starts enforcing its updated healthcare and medicines policy. Uncertified ads won’t immediately go offline, but it’s vital that these certifications are achieved by providers ASAP to avoid future disruption. Why is Google updating this policy? The short answer — to strengthen consumer protections. Advertisers, who aren’t usually insurance providers, have been taking advantage of deregulatory changes to market insurance products (e.g. short-term insurance or medical indemnity plans) in a manner that misleads consumers. Lead generators and other marketers have been using confusing or misleading advertising to hide the differences between them and traditional health insurance. Consumers purchase these products for their cheap cost without fully understanding potential risks, sometimes resulting in a lack of health coverage, bankruptcy, etc. This policy aims to protect users by restricting the advertising of health insurance generally and ACA-compliant health insurance specifically to certified advertisers — government exchanges, first-party providers, and appropriately licensed third-party brokers. As the enforcement date, June 2, 2021, gets closer, there will be more clarity about which specific ads do and do not adhere to the updated policy. How does this impact health insurance advertisers? While it’s still too early to tell, verification can lead to reduced competition on the search engine results page and in turn lower CPCs. Broker and lead aggregator advertisers have increased almost exponentially over the last several years. And many of these sites are likely not working directly with insurances and are inflating auction costs. One positive impact is that this could clean up a lot of the irrelevant competitors and reduce costs. However, there may be third-party brokers that clients work with who are also advertisers that may not be able to get certified. Either way, this policy update supports our knowledge that clients should continue investing more in paid search to drive leads since broker leads may be impacted. Step 1 – G2 Health Insurance Provider Certification To submit an application for certification, providers need: A complete application in the G2 PortalFee Information + Required Documents – Once a provider’s application is approved, there’s an annual monitoring fee that’s the same rate as the one-time application fee. Fees start at $39/locale/state. Application Overview Providers will need to offer the following information: General business information (e.g. Name, DBA, Website, Contact Info, NAIC/NPN Codes)Insurance license information for each state/locale where they do business (e.g. Scanned License, License Type, License #, Expiration)Proof of ACA qualification, if applicable One-Time (Non-Refundable) Application Fee Providers will need to pay a one-time application fee. Payment will depend on the number of states and locales providers need to apply for. 0-20 licensed states/locales = $39 per state/locale up to 2021-40 licensed states/locales = $780 + $29 per state/locale over 2041+ licensed states/locales = $1360 + $19 per state/locale over 40 G2 Certification Website Homepage Step 2 – Google Healthcare Advertising Application Once the G2 Certification has been approved, providers complete Google’s application for no additional cost. Application Overview To complete the certification process, providers need: Completed Google’s Apply for healthcare-related advertising formTo share their G2 approval certificate or approval certificate number to verify their G2 CertificationGoogle will need the following information: Contact nameAddressPhone numberContact emailCC emailWebsite URLGoogle ads account ID numberG2 certification number/document Both steps will need to be completed by June 2, 2021. As June 2, 2021 approaches, Google will share more specific information for providers and advertisers. We’ll be updating this blog as we receive more crucial details. If you have any questions or need any support, we’re here. Please feel free to reach out to us or follow us on social for up-to-date information as this policy rolls out.