Editor’s Note: Beginning today, millions of Americans are eligible to purchase health insurance from new online Health Insurance Marketplaces through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Many Americans, including many young adults, qualify for financial help. Below, guest bloggers Tobin Van Ostern and Spencer Dixon write on what the just-opened Marketplaces mean for a generation of Americans dubbed ‘young invincibles’ by policymakers and pundits. Following the post are ACA-related links for teens and young adults compiled by SafeTeens.
The myth still lives on. Health policymakers and pundits continue to call our generation “young invincibles,” the term that derives from the ill-conceived theory that young people choose not to purchase health insurance because they think we don’t need it. The term makes sense, since young people don’t care about health, right?
There’s only problem with that theory: it’s wrong — and we have proof.
When researchers asked young adults without health coverage why they were uninsured, the most popular reason cited was because they couldn’t afford it, not because they didn’t want it. Three times as many young adults cited high costs as the reason they don’t have health insurance, in contrast to those who didn’t because they thought they didn’t need it. Previous research done by Young Invincibles and others confirms this finding.
The traditionally higher cost of health insurance and the lack of employee benefits available to young workers has made health insurance unattainable for too many young adults over the past years. Beginning today, as many as 17 million currently uninsured young adults could be eligible to enroll in free or discounted insurance plans over the coming years.
But to take advantage of these new options, young adults need to get informed about these benefits and get enrolled. Unfortunately, not many young people know about their new options. Just three weeks ago, almost one third of all young adults 18-34 were completely unaware that new marketplaces were scheduled to — and did — open today.
So, what can you do? First, if you or any of your close friends are uninsured, plan to sign up. Second, be a part of the solution by letting other young adults know of their options under Obamacare. If you could get quality, affordable coverage that could save your life, wouldn’t you want to know about it? With your help, we can take advantage of this opportunity and insure millions of young adults. Let’s get to work!
Healthy Young America – Got Health Care questions? HYA has answers.
Videos about the Affordable Care Act – Videos compiled by Get Covered America that explain the benefits and options available the Marketplaces.
Dependent Coverage Explained – FAQs on the ACA provision that allows young adults under 26 to stay on their parents’ plan.
The Roadmap to Coverage – An easy-to-follow flowchart by Young Invincibles.
The Roadmap to Coverage (College Student Edition) – An (amended) easy-to-follow flowchart by Young Invincibles.
The Health Insurance Marketplace – Compare a wide range of health insurance plans and choose the one that’s right for you.
Healthcare Finder USA App for Apple – Discover your health care options and find local health care services.
Healthcare Finder USA App for Android – Discover your health care options and find local health care services.
This post by Tobin Van Ostern and Spencer Dixon of Young Invincibles is originally published here. Young Invincibles, a national organization committed to mobilizing and expanding opportunities for young Americans, runs the Healthy Young America campaign. The original post has been edited and amended with links in part to reflect the October 1 opening of Health Insurance Marketplaces.