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.

Knight Foundation

Lehmans


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

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 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