Knowledge Is Power: Focusing on Health Insurance Literacy May Increase Health Coverage Retention

By Sophie Stern

During the initial open enrollment period (OE1) Enroll America engaged over 5 million consumers online, through email, over the phone, and in person to help connect them to new coverage options. Through this process we learned about their enrollment experience — what worked well (or not so well) and why they ultimately did or did not take action to enroll.

Wanting to dig deeper, we fielded a nationally representative post-enrollment consumer survey in April 2014 with PerryUndem Research and, in June 2014, surveyed individuals that we encountered on the ground in our 11 campaign states (read more about the Get Covered America [GCA] campaign here).

The results were loud and clear — knowledge is power. Leading up to OE2, focusing on health insurance literacy and the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be key. Here’s why:

  • Individuals newly enrolled in marketplace plans had higher levels of knowledge about the ACA than the remaining uninsured. (April 2014)

New Enrollees Knew More

New enrollees new more

Source: Enroll America and PerryUndem Research, Voices from the Newly Enrolled and Still Uninsured: A Survey about the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period, July 2014.

  • Enrollees that felt like they had enough information about the ACA also reported being very confident or somewhat confident that they could pay their premiums at a rate 30 percentage points higher than enrollees that reported not having enough information about the law (86 percent vs. 56 percent). This means they are more likely to keep their coverage. (April 2014)

Enrollees who have more information about the law are more confident that they can pay their premium.

Source: Enroll America and PerryUndem Research, Voices from the Newly Enrolled and Still Uninsured: A Survey about the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period, July 2014.

  • Enrollees from the GCA campaign that felt like they had enough information about the law reported that they plan to renew coverage at a rate 17 percentage points higher than enrollees that did not have enough information (73 percent vs. 56 percent). (June 2014)

Enrollees who have more information about the law are more likely to renew coverage.

Source: Data is from an Enroll America follow-up survey of consumers who interacted with the GCA campaign during open enrollment. June 2014.

  • Enrollees from the GCA campaign that felt like they had enough information about the law reported that they expected to keep insurance at a rate of 12 percentage points higher than enrollees that reported not having enough information (86 percent vs. 74 percent). (June 2014)

As defined by an expert roundtable, “Health insurance literacy measures the degree to which individuals have the knowledge, ability, and confidence to find and evaluate information about health plans, select the best plan for their financial and health circumstances, and use the plan once enrolled.”

Work in this space is critical to Enroll America’s mission, as it will help guarantee that consumers choose coverage that meets their needs and budget and maintain coverage once enrolled. To this end, we have launched a Health Insurance Literacy Resource Hub as mechanism to foster collaboration among enrollment stakeholders and to create a one-stop-shop so organizations do not have to reinvent the wheel. We need your help to get the word out about this resource — you can tweet a link to the page with the hashtag #HealthInsLit or share with partners via your communication channels.

Enroll America will also continue to develop and improve tools (such as our Calculator and Plan Picker), in conjunction with a national and state partners, to make sure individuals have the knowledge to get covered and stay covered.

 

More about the data:

Enroll America commissioned PerryUndem Research to conduct a nationally representative online survey on behalf of Enroll America from April 10 to April 28 that included 671 newly enrolled adults and 853 remaining uninsured. 

Between June 26 and July 3, 2014, Enroll America spoke with 3,910 individuals across Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania Tennessee, and Texas who had interacted with Enroll America’s grassroots campaign during OE1. Of those individuals, 1,405 respondents indicated that they had enrolled in a marketplace plan.

 

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