The ongoing rollout of health care legislation continues to drive new deal making in the health insurance category.

While they once used sponsorship to build their brands and promote health and wellness, a growing number of insurers are now using the medium to engage directly with consumers and reach untapped audiences.

“The health care landscape has changed dramatically, and our business has evolved from a wholesale model to a retail model,” said Jonathon Pearson, program director, corporate responsibility and community with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

The changing landscape has prompted the company to seek out new audiences. Case in point: Horizon BCBS sponsored the June 24-26 Atlantic City stop of the Dave Matthews Band’s Caravan touring festival to reach young adults.

“We’re using sponsorship to reach consumers that we may not have had an interest in reaching in the past,” said Pearson, noting that those consumers range from ‘young invincibles’” to senior citizens.

Health care legislation also has impacted the way the company activates sponsorship. Its new focus: more consumer engagement.

For example, Horizon BCBS this year developed new on-site programs around its sponsorship of the Camden Riversharks and three other minor league baseball teams. The on-site presence featured a contemporary look and brand ambassadors equipped with tablet computers.

“We need to have a presence with the look and feel of a retail company. We don’t have a tangible product, so we need to work directly with consumers and talk about our physician network,” Pearson said.