The issue: It’s a challenge to sell health plans to youths who are convinced they’ll never need them
The problem for the Obama administration in pitching the Affordable Care Act is that young, healthy adults are, well, young, healthy adults. While intellectually they know it may not be so, at an emotional level they believe life will always be this way.
Sickness, injury and old age are what happen to someone else, and that badly mistaken belief has caused health care specialists to dub these millennials the “Young Invincibles.”
UNFORTUNATELY, for the ACA this demographic is vital to the finances of the health care exchanges; the participation and premiums of the young and healthy offset the higher medical costs of an older generation.
In the states where signups for the new plan have been most successful — California, Kentucky and Maryland — nearly a quarter of enrollees are 35 and younger but that’s well short of the goal of getting 28 percent of young adults nationwide to sign up by the 2014 enrollment period ends in March.
Congressional Republicans, who have given up on their futile campaign to repeal Obamacare, are now trying to ensure that it doesn’t work, or at least doesn’t work well, and have been running ads deriding the act, especially for younger people.
According to the newspaper The Hill, “polls show the ‘young invincibles’ key to making the law work are becoming less likely to enroll.”
A survey by Harvard this month showed that the administration does indeed have cause to worry: 61 percent of people ages 18 to 29 disapproved of the president’s handling of health care, 57 percent disapproved of the Affordable Care Act itself and 44 percent think the quality of their health care will get worse.
THE WHITE HOUSE recently hosted a Youth Summit of young millennials ageS 18 to 35 to whip up enthusiasm for signing up through rallies, campus conferences and social media. The president even suggested that bartenders talk up the health care act during happy hour.
Maybe the bartenders can overcome the problem pointed out by Spence Griffin, executive producer of the website CollegeHumor: “Health care is about the most boring subject to a 22-year-old there is.”
The actuarial tables guarantee that older generations can tell the younger generations as they become not so invincible, “We told you so.” That won’t do much for their physical health but it will be a tonic to their mental well-being.