I begin new employment next Monday, and my my new employer offers a choice of health plans through three different providers: Health Net, United Healthcare, and Kaiser Permanente.
Each of these health insurance companies have slightly different features: HMO vs PPO, physician and facility locations, my out of pocket expense (premiums, copays and deductibles) and so forth. I’ll pretend that corporate sponsorship of professional cycling will also fit into my decision.
Health Net sponsored a U.S. professional cycling team for six years with Maxxis, supporting a number of young American (US and Canadian) cyclists. Tyler Farrar got his professional start with Health Net. Other familiar names who raced for this team include John Murphy, Rory Sutherland, Jeff Louder and Ryder Jesjedal. The team consistently won races in the USA Cycling race calendar.
When Health Net dropped out of cycling in 2008, their team became Teach OUCH for a while, and this year United Healthcare picked up sponsorship. The 2010 UHC-Maxxis team are Rory Sutherland, Bradley White, Roman Kilun, Karl Menzies, Andrew Pinfold, Tim Johnson and Chris Baldwin. Besides a number of USA Cycling Races throughout North America, UHC will race in the Tour of California coming up this May.
Kaiser Permanente seems to be a little more low key and local in their sponsorship, supporting a handful of club and shop teams such as Team Oakland and local community events like the The Moonlight Classic night time bike ride coming up this July in Denver, Colorado. Besides that, I think their advertising showing cycling as a positive, mainstream activity and mode of transportation absolutely rules.
If all other things are equal (and they’re not at all), which corporate sponsorship do you like the best? Health Net’s record of professional cycling in the past, UHC’s current sponsorship, or Kaiser Permanente’s “feel good” local support of events and clubs?