Enroll America Survey: Engaging Consumers About Appropriate Use of Coverage May Help with Retention

By Sophie Stern

During the third open enrollment period (OE3), Enroll America conducted a survey of 2,963 individuals that subscribe to our Get Covered America email list. Our goal was to uncover consumer attitudes about health insurance, as well as overall satisfaction with the marketplace shopping experience and coverage purchased. We asked different sets of questions based on various factors, including insurance status in 2015 and 2016, and whether they actively shopped for coverage during OE3.

Here’s what we found:

  • Consumers value health insurance. Survey respondents in all categories overwhelmingly reported that health insurance is very important to them. The ability to afford health care and protection from medical bills are the two primary reasons people got covered.
  • Consumers are satisfied with their coverage. Consistent with recent findings from Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Commonwealth Fund, overall, respondents were satisfied with their 2015 coverage. However, perhaps not surprisingly, those who reported low satisfaction with their 2015 marketplace coverage were less likely to enroll in marketplace coverage for 2016.
  • Financial help matters, and more needs to be done to educate consumers about their options. Heading into OE3, PerryUndem found that cost was the main reason uninsured individuals had not signed up (61 percent), and 59 percent of those who said they “can’t afford” insurance did not understand or had not heard of the tax credit. Our survey results show that affordability remains the primary reason that consumers have not enrolled. Therefore, finding and engaging individuals eligible for financial assistance leading up to and during this next open enrollment period will be key and will likely lead to greater enrollment gains.
  • Engaging consumers about appropriate use of coverage may help with retention. While utilization for basic care was high, survey respondents who did not receive any health care were most likely to exit the system (some may have dropped coverage altogether, but others may have enrolled in different forms of coverage, such as through an employer).

These survey findings will directly inform our efforts leading up to and during the next open enrollment period. Here at Enroll America, we are constantly testing different consumer engagement tactics to learn what works best, and open enrollment for 2017 coverage will be here before we know it!

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