Marketplace Enrollees

Results from a Survey of Individuals Who Purchased Health Plans Through the Health Insurance Marketplace

Since the launch of health insurance marketplaces in 2013, millions of Americans have enrolled in health insurance, bringing the nation’s uninsured rate to historic lows.

Understanding the motivations among these new enrollees to keep their coverage—as well as continuing outreach to the remaining uninsured—will be key to maintaining and building on these coverage gains.

The Issue

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation commissioned a national study, conducted by PerryUndem Research/Communication and GMMB, to explore the attitudes and experiences of those currently enrolled in qualified health plans (QHPs) available through health insurance marketplaces. The survey also looked into those who enrolled but dropped their coverage, their reasons why, and compared differences and similarities between enrollees and the remaining uninsured (based on findings from an RWJF study in May 2015).

Key Findings

  • Enrollees value coverage, with 83 percent saying insurance is a “must-have” and they will continue to find a way to pay for it. However, premium amounts remain key to affordability. This is the most important consideration when they were deciding whether to purchase insurance or not. And, it is also the number one reason people changed plans.

  • Among current enrollees who expect to stay insured for the next 12 months (91 percent), more than 8 in 10 say they are likely to continue getting their insurance through the marketplace.

  • The tax credit is very valuable to the two-thirds (64 percent) who received financial help. This is the main reason they will stay with marketplace coverage for the next year.

Conclusion

Looking ahead to open enrollment, it will be important to underscore the value of health insurance in protecting consumers from medical bills when reaching out to both current enrollees and the uninsured. Affordability and cost remain top concerns for both audiences, so education around financial help and the tax credit will continue to be needed. What's more, as the fine for not having insurance increases, educating consumers about avoiding the fine and complying with the law may serve to motivate both enrollees and the uninsured to keep and explore marketplace plans.

About the Study

This report presents findings from a national survey of 1,012 adults, ages 18 to 64, who were broken into two subgroups—those who are currently enrolled in a marketplace plan and those who were formerly enrolled in a marketplace plan but now have other coverage or are uninsured. The survey fielded August 11 through August 21, 2015. The margin of error for the currently enrolled is +/- 4.8 percentage points and is +/- 7.7 percentage points for the formerly enrolled. Methodology, survey toplines and the full public use data set are also available.