Millennials, or 18 to 34 year olds, who were the age group so popular with Obama, could doom the ACA to fail. There are not enough healthy bodies paying in to offset the costs of sicker, older customers.
There have been all kinds of celebrity outreach, yet young people are less than 30% of Obamacare customers. At least 40% of this age group is needed to sustain the marketplace. The Obama administration is trying some new strategies for this coming sign-up season. There will be ads on popular social websites, community colleges are publicizing enrollment events, and Lyft is giving ride discounts to these events. They are also targeting those who opted to pay the penalty instead of purchasing coverage.
The success of the Obamacare marketplace relies on these new strategies overcoming millennials’ concerns about affordability. With three national insurers pulling out of the exchanges for 2017 due to big loses, 1 in 5 customers may have only one insurer in their area. Many insurance companies are planning large premium increases. Millennials feel no need to sign up, as it is an extra expense that they don’t need or can’t afford right now. Many Americans still don’t realize that they might qualify for federal subsidies, which cover three quarters of the monthly premium, on average. Most enrollees can find a plan for $75 or less, after factoring in large subsidies, paid for by taxpayers.
Local enrollment workers across the country are emphasizing affordability and benefits of being insured. Dallas will be running Obamacare ads in movie theaters. Breweries and pizza parlors will be holding sign-up events around Charlotte, NC. Those already enrolled are encouraged to shop around or may end up stuck in a more expensive plan.
The penalty for skipping coverage jumped to $695 or 2.5% of household income (whichever is greater), yet the penalty is not strong enough incentive for millennials to purchase insurance coverage. Until the plans become more affordable, the young people will continue to “swipe left” to Obamacare.
MediBid offers affordable medical care to both those who are uninsured or under-insured. Employers can also save money by providing minimum essential coverage (which meets Obamacare requirements) to employees, rather than high-priced Cadillac plans.
Pradhan, Rachana and Demko, Paul. “Obamacare’s millennial problem.” Healthcare. Politico, 4 Oct 2016. Web. 4 Oct 2016.