Promoting Health Insurance Uptake under the ACA

NORC served as the lead marketing/communications research contractor to Covered California from 2012-2015. Covered California is the ACA-mandated health benefit exchange for the state of California, one the most successful of the state-based exchanges. The work entailed a number of initial qualitative studies exploring attitudes toward health insurance, prices, perceived benefits and other influences on consumer purchase intentions among the California uninsured and individually-insured populations. This initial research increased understanding about the drivers of insurance purchase receptivity and how to craft a compelling value proposition for different types of consumers. One of the studies involved completion of interviews with a diverse array of almost 400 California consumers in 13 languages. Similar qualitative research was conducted among California small business owners and employee benefit managers in order to guide initial thinking about how to best promote the SHOP program aimed at small employers.

Quantitative work focused on the consumer audience involved a 2013 baseline survey as well as follow-on annual tracking surveys of the California individual insurance market. The 2013 study provided a baseline assessment of insurance-related knowledge, beliefs and behavioral intentions. It also explored consumer market segmentation questions. The data guided the finalization of marketing/outreach messages and strategies to be used in the 2104 open enrollment campaign. The tracking surveys allowed for the assessment of advertising recall and exposure to other campaign elements as well as change over time in knowledge, attitudes and purchase intentions. Tracking survey results were instrumental in the assessment of campaign effectiveness and refinement of messages and strategies. The surveys entailed use of a dual-frame RDD and cell phone design with over-samples of African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Millennials. In addition to this consumer market tracking program, NORC also conducted a baseline survey within the small business market.

Other work included mixed methods research to determine how to best communicate basic health insurance concepts to those with low health insurance literacy; advertising concept and testing studies; and, later in the term of the contract, assessment of consumer experiences related to use of the online and other enrollment portals.