News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Metro RTA

Akron Children's Hospital


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine


Officials aim to get more "Young Invincibles" signed up for healthcare
Numbers are rising, but still short of the goal of 34 percent of exchange members
Story by SARAH JANE TRIBBLE


 
Medical students at Case Western Reserve University learn about signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Courtesy of Sarah Jane Tribble
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

With just weeks left to sign up for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act's marketplace, federal officials have stepped up efforts to recruit enrollees between the ages of 18 and 34. But even as President Obama's administration celebrated a January enrollment surge, there is still a lot of work to do.

LISTEN: TRIBBLE ON YOUNG INVINCIBLES

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:33)


On the same afternoon that federal officials announced that 3.3 million people nationally have signed up for health insurance plans on the exchanges, the sun was shining in downtown Cleveland.

Young adults, those who fall in the 18- to 34-year-old age group that officials say are so necessary to make the federal reform work, were willing to pause on the street and answer one quick question: What do you think of the Affordable Care Act?

“Oh, man, I don’t know much about it," 25-year-old Brian Schlesinger says. "I’m not really into politics; I guess that’s a bad thing to say, but it just doesn’t interest me.”

“I really know nothing about it," 26-year-old Josh Fox says. "From what I’ve understood, it’s a hassle to sign up and I really haven’t paid that much attention to it.”

Young Invincibles
For months, the question of whether the so-called Young Invincibles will sign up for health insurance has loomed large. Why would someone who is young, healthy and statistically unlikely to encounter a major illness anytime soon be interested in paying a monthly premium for coverage?

That is a question U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to address when she stopped by Cleveland earlier this month to stump for the ACA.

“We know it’s harder to get their attention," Sebelius says. "I’m the mother of one nearly formerly 20-something and one still 20-something. I know they don’t get up every morning thinking, boy, I wish I had health insurance. I don’t know what they get up every morning thinking but my guess is, it isn’t that.”

The administration has stepped up marketing efforts in recent weeks, allocating $52 million in advertising money for the first three months of the year and recruiting celebrity spokespeople like Jimmy Kimmel and Magic Johnson.

Getting young people listening
But even more important are the people closer to home, says David Bransfield, a state outreach coordinator for the national Young Invincibles group. He spoke recently to a group of Case Western Reserve University medical students about recruiting new enrollees.

“You guys know who you listen to," Bransfield says. "You listen to your mom, you listen to your friends, you might listen to John Stewart.”

Bransfield says the effort is working. He points to the latest federal count, which showed an uptick in the number of adults aged 18-34 signing up. By the end of January, that demographic reached 25 percent of total enrollment in Obamacare health plans.

In Ohio, only about 21 percent of the enrollees were young adults.

Both statistics are well below the 38 percent administration officials have said are needed to give insurers an adequate mix of healthy versus older and sicker enrollees.

Bransfield took that message to the group at Case, most of whom were likely already insured.

“Be proactive for all those people who aren’t, all those people who did not come here," Bransfield says. "If they see a post on Facebook, they are much more likely to read that than come to a lecture.”

Bransfield believes there will be a surge in enrollments just before the March 31 deadline.

Back on the streets of Cleveland, it seems unlikely that 25-year-old Brian Schlesinger, who has insurance through his job as an engineer, will share with his friends how great it is. He says he has yet to actually use his insurance.

“I will be at some point, I’m sure," Schlesinger says.

And Fox, who works as a server and is uninsured, says he is unlikely to sign up, even if he qualifies for a subsidy on the exchange.

"I don’t know," Fox says. "It’s just something that you can’t really afford to pay attention to. So those sort of situations when they come up, you deal with them."

Obama officials have four weeks to capture his attention. 

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

FitzGerald isn't giving up, but many Stark voters are worried, wary and weary
SB5 stands for "Snow Ball 5" because voters have about a snow ball's chance of remembering what it was.

Columbus groups are trying to pass a Bill of Rights to combat fracking
Its about time we make a stand against the criminal actions of an entire Indsutry.

Crystal Ball says Ohio governor's race is done
How much is the Kasich campaign paying you to keep repeating the phrase "woman who is not his wife"? Fitzgerald was in the car with a friend who happens to be f...

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University