Nearly two-thirds of young adults, those aged 18-25, say they don’t have enough information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to know how it will affect them and their families, according to an Aug. 28 Kaiser Foundation tracking poll. A quarter of these so-called “young invincibles” lack health insurance, which leaves them vulnerable to financial hardship should they become ill or injured.
While this 25-percent figure is down from 2010, before an ACA provision allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans, nearly 12 million young adults report they were uninsured for at least part of the year in 2012.
This age group has been the target of marketing campaigns by both opponents and proponents of the health care law, which only adds to the confusion of information about the law’s requirements and benefits.
Young Invincibles, which describes itself as “…a national organization committed to amplifying the voices of young Americans,” launched its “Healthy Young America” website last month to provide information about the ACA and encourage young adults to protect their health and financial future by purchasing health insurance.
“Even common illnesses and injuries, like a broken bone, can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars to treat without insurance. Large medical bills could lead to debt or even bankruptcy and endanger your financial future.” – Healthy Young America
The conservative non-profit organization FreedomWorks rolled out a “Burn Your Obamacare Card” campaign in July, which encourages young adults to resist the health insurance mandate. The Freedom Works press statement claims the Millennial generation “stands to get the worst end of the deal” when it comes to Obamacare as young adults are forced to purchase an overpriced product they may not want.
Calling to mind the anti-draft activists of the Vietnam War era, FreedomWorks is encouraging young adults to burn their Obamacare cards. Because the ACA does not include government issued insurance cards – health insurance plans offered in the exchanges are offered by multiple private insurance companies – FreedomWorks has created a pseudo-Obamacare card (issued, for unexplained reasons, to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) that young adults may print and burn as a symbolic gesture.
“The health care ‘draft’ is a coercive federal strategy to ensure that enough people stay in the system, while insiders and connected friends of the White House get special exemption deals. Congress has also been quietly looking for ways to give itself special relief from the law- health care freedom for me, but not thee, I suppose.” – FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe
A new Common Wealth Fund report estimates that 82 percent of young adults are eligible for free or subsidized health insurance. For reliable information about the ACA, the individual mandate and eligibility for tax credits and subsidies to help offset premium costs, young adults may access the official website HealthCare.gov and follow the “See Your Options” link. The health care exchanges open Oct. 1 for enrollment in health plans effective Jan. 1, 2014.