With the second year of open enrollment underway, we conducted extensive research among more than 14,000 survey respondents to understand more about potential health exchange enrollees. We uncovered 3 meaningful differences between this year’s Intenders – those who self-report they plan to purchase coverage through the exchanges this open enrollment period – and those who planned to enroll the inaugural year.

  1. Perhaps the biggest discrepancy between the two groups is their general age. Last year’s Intenders were older. In fact, they were 127% more likely to be over 55 years old (likely Baby Boomers or pre-retirees shopping around for their best coverage option) when compared to this year’s Intenders. In contrast, Intenders for 2014-2015 are significantly more likely to be Millennials.
  2. This year’s Intenders are also more likely to be non-white. In fact, 2014-2015 intenders are 68% more likely to be Hispanic compared to last year’s intenders. This is perhaps a reflection of the lower than anticipated enrollment rate among Hispanics last year.
  3. Memorable messaging should focus more on the individual and less on the health benefits coverage affords for this year’s Intenders. Since this year’s Intenders are 31% more likely to value projecting a positive sense-of-self to others when making decisions, messaging should speak to the Intender personally and how coverage can ultimately help improve his or her image. Equally important, this year’s Intenders are less likely than those intending to enroll last year to make decisions out of a desire to live a healthy lifestyle or achieve financial stability.