The Chinese government is considering a (regulated) competitive healthcare system. Sufficient consumer information is a crucial pre-condition to benefit from such a change. We conducted a survey on the level of consumer information regarding health insurance among the insured population in Nanjing, China in 2009. The results from descriptive analysis and binary logistic regression demonstrate that the current level of consumer information about health insurance is low. The level of consumer information is positively correlated with the subscribers' motivation to obtain the information and its availability. The level of searching for health insurance information is also low; moreover, even upon searching, the chance of finding relevant information is less than 25%. We conclude that the level of consumer information is currently insufficient in China. If the Chinese government is determined to adopt market mechanisms in the healthcare sector, it should take the lead in making valid and reliable information publicly available and easily accessible. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.