Awareness of health exchanges remains low; Younger consumers pass on insurance because they cannot afford it, not because they feel invincible

September 10, 2013 09:35 AM Eastern Time

RESTON, Va.— (EON: Enhanced Online News) — Resonate, the only marketing intelligence company that delivers media and analytics based on “why” consumers make decisions, today revealed challenges for the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare exchanges, which open for enrollment on October 1. In a far-reaching survey of more than 14,000 people, Resonate found that only 22% of uninsured plan to purchase insurance through the exchanges. And, demonstrating the need for an aggressive marketing and communications campaign, 27% were completely unaware of the healthcare exchanges.

“With our data illustrating cost as a critical driver, the significant discounts offered to many individuals enrolling for the first time will be a tremendous incentive to buy coverage rather than potentially pay a fine.”

Two key groups showed even less awareness, with 33% of non-white uninsured and 30% of uninsured under 35 reporting no knowledge of the exchanges.

“The big challenge is to communicate to the target market the affordability and convenience of the plans offered by the health exchanges,” said Bryan Gernert, Resonate CEO. “With our data illustrating cost as a critical driver, the significant discounts offered to many individuals enrolling for the first time will be a tremendous incentive to buy coverage rather than potentially pay a fine.”

Why the Young Uninsured don’t have insurance

Resonate also explored why the uninsured lack coverage and what motivates them to make decisions regarding their health. The findings: Affordability is the primary factor behind the lack of insurance, even with younger uninsured consumers.

This runs counter to conventional wisdom, which says the true challenge is convincing younger people that they are not invincible and need healthcare coverage. Among those aged 18-34, 35% say they lack insurance due to cost, a much higher percentage than the 11% who say they don’t have it because they don’t need it. For younger men, 31% said they could not afford health insurance, more than double the 12% who said they did not need it.

For all age groups, 37% said they cannot afford insurance, while only 8% said they do not have insurance because they do not need it. Cost is the major reason that those under 35 (35%), non-white consumers (34%) and uninsured families (38%) lack coverage.

“The traditionally higher cost of health insurance and the lack of employee benefits available to young workers have made health insurance unattainable for too many young adults over the past years. Over the coming year, as many as 17 million currently uninsured young adults could be eligible to enroll in free or discounted insurance plans,” said Tobin VanOstern, adviser for strategic partnerships at Young Invincibles.

The Uninsured: Motivated To Make Purchases That Are Convenient and Perceived To Improve Their Image

Cost is not the only factor that influences the purchase of coverage. Resonate finds the uninsured are 60% more likely than consumers overall to be driven by convenience, rather than cost or brand, when making purchases. And, relative to consumers overall, the uninsured are 29% more likely to make purchases because they help portray a positive image to others; and 24% lesslikely than consumers overall to make purchases because they promote a healthy lifestyle.

Resonate’s ability to combine extensive survey results with thousands of additional data points allows it to help companies, states, and the federal government, better target and market the healthcare exchanges to the uninsured. The company is already working with firms in several states and at the federal level to raise awareness.

About Resonate:

Resonate lets advertisers and marketers better understand and reach audiences by revealing the motivation behind purchase decisions or support for a cause or candidate. Resonate allows marketers to build rich consumer profiles to power marketing and online advertising campaigns and gain actionable consumer insights before, during and after execution. Resonate powers the campaign performance of leading brand and political advertisers. The company is headquartered in Reston, VA, with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C.


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Alice Chan, 415-740-8174