Poll: Consumers aren't that interested in exchange plans

Insurers already worried about the second enrollment period for health insurance exchanges received a piece of bad news--just 29 percent of consumers said they would consider shopping for new coverage on health insurance exchanges, according to a recent poll from Morning Consult.

The survey, which involved almost 1,700 consumers, also found that 43 percent of respondents will likely keep the same plan they're currently enrolled in. Another 25 percent of consumers don't know what they will do.

Coupled with the fact that this enrollment period is shorter than the previous one and the controversy surrounding the health reform provision allowing consumers to be automatically re-enrolled in their exchange plans, this survey raises more concerns for insurers hoping to boost their membership through the online marketplaces.

"Ensuring a smooth process for people already enrolled has the lion share of our attention right now," Brendan Buck, vice president of communications for America's Health Insurance Plans, told Morning Consult. "There remains a lot of open questions about how consumer friendly that process would be. You don't want to have a system so discouraging [consumers] don't want to stay in it."

Insurers are also worried about the re-enrollment logistics. "No one really knows what this is going to look like because this is the first time [HealthCare.Gov] is doing re-enrollment," Eric Lail, director of strategic communications for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, told Morning Consult. "For all of the people who bought insurance for the first time last fall, this is now their first time renewing."

That's why many insurance companies and exchanges are mounting a nationwide enrollment effort. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, for example, is using its mobile recreational vehicle to coach consumers on available plans, and Covered California launched a $46 million ad campaign featuring stories of what health insurance has meant to new enrollees, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Morning Consult article and survey