Obamacare's Third Month

During Obamacare's third month of enrollment, the Twitter conversations turned to topics of affordability and uptake and moved away from the functionality of HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplace websites.

This third in a series of analyses illustrates the changing nature of the Twitter conversation about Obamacare. Observations focus on December 2013 with some additional data through January 15, 2014.

This analysis examines Twitter traffic (volume of tweets), spikes in activity, and sentiment trending. The Topsy sentiment score uses advanced natural language processing to analyze the sentiment — positive or negative — of each tweet compared to the sentiment of everything else being discussed on Twitter. Each tweet is assigned a score from 0 to 100, with 50 being neutral sentiment and higher and lower scores representing positive and negative sentiment, respectively.

OBSERVATION 1: The conversation about Obamacare on Twitter has tapered off since the launch in October 2013. Over the last month in particular, the discussion has settled down as the performance of enrollment websites improved and a record number of people signed up for coverage.

December 2013 Observation 1

In the above graph, tweets were counted if they included: Obamacare or #obamacare; ACA, #ACA, or "affordable care act"; and HealthCare.gov, site:healthcare.gov, "healthcare dot gov," or @healthcaregov.

OBSERVATION 2: Twitter sentiment about HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces was more positive in December than it was in November, but sentiment for HealthCare.gov remains less positive than for the state-based marketplaces.

  • The average sentiment score of tweets containing a link to HealthCare.gov in December improved by 10 points to 31/100, compared with 23/100 in November.
  • The average sentiment score of tweets containing a link to state-based marketplace sites was 61/100 in December, compared with 59/100 in November.

Topsy Sentiment Score: HealthCare.gov Versus State Exchanges

OBSERVATION 3: As more people have successfully navigated enrollment portals to sign up for coverage, the Twitter conversation about coverage affordability has increased. A Twitter search designed to capture the consumer voice on this topic revealed a higher volume of positive tweets than negative tweets from December 1, 2013, to January 15, 2014.

December 2013 Observation 3

In the above graph, tweets were counted if they included phrases such as "went down," "going down," "cost less," "less expensive," and "cheaper"; or "went up," "going up," "cost more," "expensive," and "pay more."

OBSERVATION 4: A Twitter conversation among the "young invincible" demographic reveals themes of transitioning to adulthood and becoming more responsible upon signing up for health coverage.

Below, a sample of tweets reveal the nature of the dialogue among young people purchasing health coverage for the first time. These examples are taken from each of the four months since the launch of Obamacare.

December 2013 Tweets