News Release

Date Posted

New Survey Highlights Continued Need for Marketing of Health Insurance

  • Overwhelming majorities of consumers are aware of Covered California, and enrollment and renewal intent remain very strong.
  • However, even with very high recognition of Covered California, nearly 75 percent of subsidy-eligible uninsured Californians either wrongly assume they do not qualify for financial help or are unsure whether they do.
  • Affordability remains key: Uninsured consumers who expect to be eligible for financial help are more than twice as likely to enroll in coverage as those who expect to be ineligible for assistance.
  • While many are uncertain about the long-term future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Covered California, in the near term they overwhelming plan to renew or newly sign up for coverage.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California released a study on Thursday that shows the strength of the exchange’s brand as well as the continued importance of making sure consumers are aware of the financial help that is available to make health insurance more affordable.

“This study affirms what Covered California has long known: Ongoing marketing is a critical element to building a stable and successful individual insurance market that works for consumers,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “It is great news that after five years Covered California has name recognition on par with Nike and Coca-Cola, but that doesn’t mean consumers know they are eligible for financial help, which is what is needed to promote enrollment.”

The study, “A Quantitative Study on Current Attitudes of Uninsured and Select Insured Californians Toward Health Insurance Coverage,” was conducted to assess and track consumer perceptions of health insurance in the changing political environment and help Covered California prepare its marketing messages for the upcoming open-enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1 and will go through Jan. 31 in California.

Among the survey’s key findings (which are available in graphic display

  • An overwhelming majority of consumers, 96 percent, has heard of both Covered California and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • The vast majority of those currently insured through Covered California plan to renew their coverage: 88 percent of current enrollees say they intend to renew their coverage, including 94 percent of those who receive financial help and 70 percent of those who do not receive any financial help.
  • While the exchange is well-known, 73 percent of the uninsured — who would be eligible for financial help — either do not know they qualify for assistance, or wrongly believe they are not eligible for assistance.
  • Knowledge of being eligible for financial help is vital because uninsured consumers are twice as likely (71 percent) to plan to enroll in Covered California as those who expect not be eligible for financial help or are unsure (34 percent).

“Health insurance is important because we all know that life can change in an instant,” Lee said. “When people know they can get financial help to bring that health care within reach, they sign up for coverage and protection.”

As of June 2016, the average subsidy-eligible enrollee received a subsidy of $300 per month to go toward their policy. Nearly nine out of every 10 Covered California members — more than 1.2 million Californians — receive some level of financial help.

In addition, the study found that the political debates in Washington had spurred uncertainty among the uninsured and those who have a health plan through Covered California. However, while nearly two-thirds of those surveyed reported they were concerned about the future of Covered California and the Affordable Care Act, four out of five still plan to renew their coverage.

“Covered California is here for the long haul, and as we once again prepare to launch an extensive statewide marketing and promotional campaign, we recognize that consumers are looking for the certainty that we are providing today,” Lee said. “While there may be uncertainty in the long term, in the near term Californians want health insurance if they can afford it. Our job is to get them the information they need to get and stay covered.”

The study, which was conducted between June 9, 2017, and June 30, 2017, included focus-group testing and an online survey of 500 respondents. It is the second in a series of surveys conducted by Greenberg Strategy, an Emeryville-based research and strategy consultancy with clients around the world.

The complete study can be found here:

Once open enrollment begins, consumers interested in enrolling online can do so on They can also get free and confidential in-person assistance, in a variety of languages, by clicking on “Free Local Help to Enroll.” They can find a nearby enroller or have a certified enroller contact them through the “Help on Demand” feature. Consumers can also enroll over the phone by calling Covered California at (800) 300-1506.

About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s health insurance marketplace, where Californians can find affordable, high-quality insurance from top insurance companies. Covered California is the only place where individuals who qualify can get financial assistance on a sliding scale to reduce premium costs. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Depending on their income, some consumers may qualify for the low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal program.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the health insurance marketplace work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit