New House Document Is No Plan to Protect Millennials’ Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 17, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

New House Document Threatens Millennials’ Health Care, Would End Medicaid As We Know It

[WASHINGTON]–On Thursday, House Republicans released a document that makes clear that they have no plan to protect Millennials’ health care and would trample on the progress young adults have made under the Affordable Care Act. YI’s Executive Director Jen Mishory released the following statement on the paper:

“Studies have shown that proposals similar to the House Republican release would strip young adults of their coverage and increase costs for young people currently eligible for premium tax credits. The House document, certainly not an actual plan, would also provide significant tax cuts to the rich while ending Medicaid as we know it — cutting coverage and benefits for the most vulnerable in our society, including pregnant women, people with disabilities, and low-income workers. It could also allow discrimination against up to 30 million young adults with a pre-existing condition. Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 8 million young adults have gained coverage. Under House Republicans’ framework, costs will rise, the number of uninsured will climb, and protections against insurers’ worst abuses will be stripped away. That’s bad for young people’s health.”

###

Share Button

Cassidy-Collins Bill Would Cut Millennials’ Coverage Access & Quality, Not Improve It

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 24, 2017

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

[WASHINGTON]–Yesterday, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Patient Freedom Act of 2017, a plan that would threaten young adults’ access to health care coverage and benefits. Young Invincibles’ Executive Director, Jen Mishory, released the following statement in response to the proposal:

“Last week, Young Invincibles and 53 other organizations called on Congress to ensure that young adults have equal or improved access to high-quality, affordable health coverage under any potential plan to replace the ACA. While Senators Cassidy and Collins’ plan would allow young people to stay on a parent’s policy until age 26, a popular and important provision of the ACA, their plan misses the mark on providing quality and affordable coverage for young people broadly. Under the Cassidy-Collins plan, financial assistance would fall, states could rely on high-deductible health plans with skimpier benefits, or states could simply eliminate coverage options for millions. The plan also lets states dump provisions of the ACA that limit insurance company profits, providing insurers a windfall at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. Congress should take action to improve health care, but cutting coverage access and quality in states that opt to leave Obamacare would threaten Millennials’ financial health, not improve it.”

###

Share Button

Hey Illinoisans, #JustGetCovered!

Get Covered Illinois Not sure if you can get insurance? Or unsure how to actually sign up (hint: check out GetCoveredIllinois.gov)? We’ve got you covered!

Think you can’t afford health insurance?

Thanks to premium tax credits, which are based on your income, you might be surprised. Six in 10 Illinoisans on GetCoveredIllinois.gov will qualify for a plan costing less than $100 a month. Eighty percent of Prairie State residents buying on the marketplace can receive tax credits that offset the cost of health care premiums.

Not sure it is worth it?

Everyone, even those who are healthy, can benefit from insurance. It gives us access to free preventative care and screenings that keep us healthier over time, and it protects our pocketbooks from unexpected illnesses and accidents that we cannot plan for. On top of that, those without health care will have to pay a penalty of $695 or 2.5% of their income (whichever is greater).

Where do I start?

You can get covered in just a few steps. Here are the essentials:

Step 1: Remember the deadline. Open enrollment is the time period during which you can enroll in health insurance offered through GetCoveredIllinois.gov. The enrollment period runs between November 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017. Sign up before January 31 to get coverage in 2017.

Step 2: Do a little research. You can find the plan that is best for you by determining what plans you are eligible for including what financial assistance is available, compare the plans available to you, and make an appointment for help from a real, live person!

Step 3: Get covered. Now that you know your options and why health care is important, go to GetCoveredIllinois.gov to enroll in coverage. And don’t procrastinate – sign up by January 31, 2017, to make sure you’ve got coverage in 2017 and don’t have to pay a fine. To enroll you’ll need:

  • Proof of the number of members in your household (think proof of address, birth dates, and social security numbers)
  • Contact information and social security numbers of household members you want to enroll in coverage
  • Your tax household’s annual salary (for more details on how to estimate this, visit HealthCare.gov’s expected income page)
  • Policy numbers for any current health plan

You can also use this handy checklist from HealthCare.gov to make sure you have the documents you need for signing up for healthcare.

Be sure to also check out our #HealthyAdulting Resource Toolkit for information on all things coverage to care.

Share Button

New Census Data Shows Drop in Uninsured Rate for Millennials for Third Straight Year Since Full ACA Implementation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2016
Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

  • The uninsured rate for 18-34 year-olds decreased to 15 percent in 2015, continuing progress made over the last two open enrollment seasons of the ACA.
  • Young adults make up 46 percent of the newly insured, despite only making up 30 percent of the adult population.
  • Young Latinos, among the highest rates of uninsured, also see the steepest improvement.

New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the rate of young adults without health insurance has continued to drop for the third consecutive year since the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The rate of 18-to-34 year-olds without health insurance fell to 15.0 percent in 2015 from 17.2 percent in 2014 and 22.4 percent in 2013.

This drop reflects 5.2 million fewer uninsured young adults since 2013. Young adults make up 46 percent of the newly insured, despite only making up approximately 30 percent of the adult population, showing that this age group disproportionately benefits from the ACA.

“This new data shows that the ACA is working for more young people each year, with steady increases in coverage for an age group that has historically lacked coverage at higher rates than older Americans,” said Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles.

While we see improvements across the board for young adults this year, coverage for young Latinos improved by the most significant margins, as the rate of uninsured among this population has decreased from 28.5 percent in 2014 to 24.1 percent in 2015. This 15.3 percent drop is larger than the young white non-Hispanic decline of 12.1 percent, and the decline for young African Americans of 9 percent.

Rate without Health Insurance  
Race/Ethnicity 2014 2015 Percent change
White Non-Hispanic 12.6% 11.0% -12.1%
Latino 28.5% 24.1% -15.3%
African American 20.7% 18.9% -9.0%

cpsrelease-graph

Share Button

Young Invincibles: Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, July 14, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Appropriations Committee today passed the FY 2017 Labor-H Appropriations bill via a nearly party-line vote, which would cut Pell Grants and restrict the Department of Education’s ability to protect students from predatory education providers. It would completely eliminate funding for apprenticeships, child care for student parents, and health care access for millions of young adults.

Rory O’Sullivan, deputy director of Young Invincibles stated the following:

“The House Labor-H appropriations bill passed out of committee today ignores the barriers to opportunity facing millions of young people across the country. Slashing funding for education and child care could prevent young adults from establishing lasting careers, caring for their families, and boosting their earning potential with a college degree. At a time when our generation could become the first in American history worse off than our parents, this bill would put economic security further out of reach for millions.

The cuts in this bill are expansive.  Pell Grants would lose $1.3 billion, limiting access to college for eight million students seeking a postsecondary credential. The bill would zero-out funding for on-campus childcare essential for young parents seeking a degree – something that has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support. It would also expose vulnerable students to deceptive, high-debt education providers with an outright repeal of the Gainful Employment rule.

Even as youth unemployment remains 40 percent above the national average, this bill eliminates already meager funding to support businesses hoping to establish and expand apprenticeship training programs that lead to well-paid jobs and productive employees. Finally, the bill would defund aspects of the ACA critical to ensuring health care access for millions of young people.

Students and working families count on these resources to make a better life for themselves and for their families. We commend Members of the Committee who stood up in support of smart investments that help Americans achieve economic security.  And we remain hopeful that Congress can find common ground that ensures access to a quality, affordable higher education, health care coverage for millions of young adults, and alternative pathways to essential workforce credentials in future spending agreements.”

###

Share Button

Young Invincibles Applauds Gov. Brown’s Signature on Groundbreaking Law Seeking Health Care Expansion Waiver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2016

CONTACT
Nina Smith, Nina.Smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Young Invincibles Applauds Gov. Brown’s Signature on Groundbreaking Law Seeking Health Care Expansion Waiver

Historic legislation would expand access to the state’s health insurance marketplace for thousands of young Californian immigrants and DACA recipients


LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown today signed SB 10 into law, a measure that will take California closer to making health care coverage available to all Californians. The new law seeks federal approval that would allow all Californians, regardless of immigration status, to buy health insurance at full price through the state’s health marketplace. California is now the first to state to apply for such a waiver since the Affordable Care Act’s enactment. 

Young Invincibles, a research and advocacy group dedicated to improving health care for young adults, applauded the governor and state legislature for making California a national leader in providing all young adults and young families with access to coverage.“The passage of SB10 corrects a longstanding injustice in our health care system by giving thousands of hardworking young people and young families in California the ability to purchase quality coverage,” said Gustavo Herrera, Western Regional Director for Young Invincibles. “Mixed status families fare better when they are able to shop around and purchase health insurance together. And thanks to the efforts of young activists, supporters, and leaders like Governor Brown and Senator Lara, we’ve made that possible. Today we move closer to achieving health care for all people, regardless of their immigration status.”

Under the law signed by Gov. Brown, the state will apply for a State Innovation Waiver found in section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to offer full-price health plans in Covered California to immigrants who are currently shut out of the state marketplace. California is now the first to state to apply for such a waiver since the ACA’s enactment.

Momentum to sign this historic bill was bolstered by immigrant and health advocates who attended last month’s Health4All Conference & Lobby Day in Sacramento, and by statewide advocacy from community members, who called on Governor Brown to sign SB 10. The bill also builds on the recent implementation of SB 75, or “Health4All Kids,” which expands full-scope comprehensive Medi-Cal for low-income undocumented children under the age of 19.

Mr. Herrera added,“YI will remain a part of the Health for All campaign to ensure the voices and perspectives of young adults and young families are included in the debate around health care in California. We will work until everyone is covered, and no Californian is locked out of healthcare because of where they were born.”

Young Invincibles is a national organization committed to elevating the voices of young adults, ages 18 to 34, and expanding economic opportunity for the Millennial generation. Young Invincibles ensures that young adults are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis, and innovative campaigns designed to educate, inform and mobilize our generation to change the status quo.

###

 

Share Button

A New Era in Healthcare for the Formerly Incarcerated

 

By: Brittany Claybrooks

Thursday, June 25, 2015, was one for the books. Not only was it the day the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits, which make health insurance more affordable, were upheld by the Supreme Court, but it was also the same day I visited the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center for their annual Community Resource Fair.  It was especially emotional for me; it was the first time I visited inmates that I have not also called mom or dad. But thistime around, I had a whole lot more to offer than a few tears and a handmade greeting card – a ritual that I had become all too familiar with.

More than 10 million people cycle in and out of correctional facilities and more than a quarter of them are younger adults. So it really was no surprise that at least every other person I spoke with was under age 30. The young people I worked with that day were transitioning back into society after serving their time – many were seeking assistance in finding work or job training so that they could build a better life for themselves and their families. Others were seeking help with securing housing, settling up on child support repayment, or probation. What they weren’t expecting to hear was that they could be eligible for affordable health coverage upon their release.

Along with turning 26, graduating from college, moving, changing jobs, and a few other life-changing events, being released from incarceration could enable a person seeking health insurance to enroll any time throughout the year thanks to what is known as a Special Enrollment Period (or SEP).  Upon release, former inmates have 60 days to apply for coverage on Healthcare.gov or on their state’s health insurance exchange. While this is exciting news, there are still many barriers that recently incarcerated individuals face when affording new coverage.

The sad reality is that those who have “served time” will inevitably face difficulties trying to find a job, making it harder to afford health insurance coverage. For folks who do find a job or participate in Work Release Programs and earn a wage, many might qualify for employer-sponsored coverage or be eligible for lower-cost plans thanks to the ACA’s automatic premium tax credits.

The good news for (many) of our low-income neighbors – like many of those transitioning out of incarceration – the Affordable Care Act has made it possible for people earning under roughly $15,000 a year to qualify for Medicaid, a state administered health program serving those just above or in poverty. And the best part about Medicaid is that individuals have the option of applying prior to being released, meaning they can have health coverage as soon as they are released!

Unfortunately, however, as of right now, 21 states are refusing go along with the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. So what does this mean? All too often, poor residents in these states tend to fall in “the coverage gap,” where a person earns too little to qualify for tax credits, but does not have the option to join Medicaid. These states are essentially choosing to leave some of their poorest residents – a number of whom were formerly incarcerated – without a way to find affordable coverage. States need to accept the Medicaid dollars they are being offered and give the 3.7 million people in “the coverage gap” the financial security they need to build a better life. Ensuring everyone has a chance to get ahead is what this country is supposed to be all about.

Incarceration is often associated with political disenfranchisement, the loss of rights, marginalization, skepticism, and and many other challenges, but the Affordable Care Act has taken steps to remove barriers to economic mobility for former inmates. So, while inmates may worry about what lies on the other side of those heavy doors of incarceration, most can count on access to affordable health care coverage and improved economic security when getting back on their feet. And, that, my friends, is something to come home to.

(For more information, please review YI’s Young Adults In The Criminal Justice System fact sheet and watch the below webinar on healthcare options available to formerly incarcerated young adults.)

Share Button

Thanks, Obamacare: 5 Ways the ACA is Working for Millennials

By Jessica Adair

Five years ago today, the president signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA and Obamacare, into law. 

Here are five ways the ACA has changed health insurance for “Young Invincibles”:

1) More people have gained access to health coverage. Before the ACA became law, many people were excluded from buying health insurance, either because they couldn’t afford it or were denied coverage due to their health. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage, resulting in a 30% drop in the uninsurance rate — one of the largest declines in decades.

Many people who have gotten covered hail from populations that have historically lacked health insurance coverage. The uninsured rate has dropped by over 9% among African Americans and over 12% among Latinos. Young adults, another group that had suffered from low rates of health coverage, have also seen a spike in coverage. An estimated 5.7 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 have gotten covered since the ACA was passed. Since Millennials end up in the emergency room more than any age group except for the elderly, this is a major win for our generation.

5.7million-graphic2) Young adults can now stay covered on a parent’s plan until they turn 26. Before the ACA, young adults were often kicked off of a parent’s plan when they turned 18 or 22 years old. Staying on a parent’s plan is a big help, especially to students, part-time workers and those struggling to find full-time work with benefits. Young adults are still digging out of the economic hole left by the Great Recession, and combating higher unemployment rates than those seen by other age groups. Even those who are employed may not have access to health insurance — a quarter of young adults are working part-time. Staying on a parent’s plan can provide consistent care and great financial relief.

3) We’re saving money on health care. Thanks to tax credits and other subsidies, health insurance is more affordable than ever before. During last year’s Open Enrollment period, 8 in 10 people who enrolled in coverage through Healthcare.gov paid $100 a month or less for a comprehensive health insurance plan. And all health insurance companies must now spend the majority of health insurance premiums on actual health care, saving consumers billions of dollars.  

More broadly, the ACA helped stem skyrocketing health care spending in the United States. Health insurance companies must compete for consumers on Healthcare.gov, forcing companies to cut prices — last year, premium costs for Marketplace plans fell an average of 0.2 percent. Even those with health coverage from a job have seen slower growth in the cost of their premiums and most now have a plan that limits out-of pocket expenses.

4) The ACA makes huge steps towards health care equality. Before the ACA, health insurance companies could, and did, discriminate against many populations, including women, people with health conditions and members of the LGBT community

Now, women cannot be charged more than men for health insurance based on gender (how about instead: insurance companies can discriminate based on gender), nor can health insurance companies deny coverage for people with health conditions, such as cancer, asthma or even pregnancy. 

The ACA has also made great strides for the LGBT community. Insurance plans offered through the Marketplace can no longer deny people or charge people a higher price based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and same-sex married couples can receive financial assistance equal to their heterosexual counterparts. 

5) The ACA helps America stay healthy. Most insurance plans offer a wide range of preventive services at no cost to consumers, such as vaccines and screenings for common health conditions. An estimated 76 million Americans are now eligible for these preventive services.

Studies show that young adults are taking advantage of their new coverage. Since the ACA was passed, health care providers have seen “significant increases” of young adults making appointments for routine check ups, blood pressure screenings and other services to make sure their health is in good shape. This, too, is not just good for health, but potentially for cost savings. As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
 
Next steps
While the ACA has been the greatest leap for boosting access to health care that we’ve seen in years, we still have much progress to make, particularly when it comes to young adults. Through the ACA, states have the option to expand access to Medicaid, free health coverage for low-income adults.

If all states expanded Medicaid eligibility, over 15 million adults would be able to access health care, over half of whom are under the age of 35. Here at Young Invincibles, we’re building a movement to expand health care access to low-income young adults. Click here to learn more about our work to close the coverage gap!

 

Share Button

These 37 senators just called on the Obama Administration to help pregnant women

By Jessica Adair

On Tuesday, 37 senators called for women who become pregnant to be able to enroll in maternity coverage year-round.

Currently, women who are uninsured or have a health plan that does not offer maternity coverage (yes, they still exist) and become pregnant could be stranded and stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills — on top of dangerous health risks.

For years, advocates have pressured the Department of Health and Human Services to allow pregnant women year-round access to health insurance enrollment. Last month, HHS Secretary Burwell offered a glimmer of hope, stating she was “happy to consider the issue.” Just days later, HHS issued a final rule stating that pregnant women would not be able to sign up for health insurance outside of the standard Open Enrollment period.

Allowing people to sign up for health insurance outside of the three-month Open Enrollment period is nothing new. People who experience certain life events are granted Special Enrollment periods, typically 60 days to sign up for a new plan. Turning 26 and losing coverage from a parent, getting married or divorced and moving are all examples of life events that would qualify for Special Enrollment.

Having a baby is another example of a qualifying life event. So, a woman without health coverage could enroll in health insurance as soon as her baby was born, but not prior to giving birth - meaning she could potentially miss out on nine months of prenatal care during her pregnancy.

The potential for disastrous health and financial consequences for women without maternity coverage cannot be overstated. Even without complications, prenatal care and delivery costs average $23,000. Considering that the median household income in the United States is $51,939, having a child could cost half of American families 44% or more of their yearly income.

More importantly, the need for maternity care is critical to women’s health. Maternal mortality is 3 to 4 times higher for pregnant women without maternity care than for those who access care. The United States currently has appallingly high maternal mortality rates, so awful that the treatment of pregnant women in this country has been deemed a “human rights failure” by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. At least half of these deaths are preventable.
Maternity-Coverage-Social-Share2

The Obama Administration has largely staked its legacy on expanding access to health care. Indeed, thanks in no small part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the uninsurance rate has dropped to its lowest level in years. And the ACA has greatly increased the number of plans that include maternity coverage – which is now considered an Essential Health Benefit on all plans sold on the new health insurance marketplaces. It seems strange, then, that the Administration has hesitated to grant this vital special enrollment period.

Fortunately, the final rule isn’t necessarily final. Secretary Burwell has the authority to grant additional special enrollment periods. She can and should do so in this case. Already, thousands of people have joined with the senators to call for the creation of a special enrollment period. We ask that you, as well, join us to demand access to health care for pregnant women. Sign the petition today!

 

Share Button

Why Mobile Apps Are Key To Bridging Racial Disparities In Health Care Enrollment

By Spencer Dixon

On the heels of this Open Enrollment season, one in five young adults lack health insurance; a disproportionate number of whom were young African Americans and young Latinos.  Our generation ends up in the emergency room more than any other age group, except the elderly.  No one should forgo health insurance.

We sharpened our enrollment strategy this past year to connect with young Latinos and African Americans and we expect to see a great uptick in enrollment soon, largely because of how we’ve begun conversations with our generation: through mobile apps.

Millions of Millennials rely on the Internet to go about their daily life — from using email to communicate, a GPS to get around town, to smartphones to connect to the Internet and 83% of 18-29 year olds have a smartphone today. Many young adults, especially young African Americans and Latinos, primarily access the Internet through a smartphone.

Enter the Cognosante Connector app.

Modeled after Enroll America’s Connector tool, our new mobile app provides in-person assistance for our generation — in English and Spanish — to help our peers navigate low-cost health coverage options available today.

Anyone can enter his or her zip code and language and book free appointments with experts who can help them through the enrollment process. The free app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store, as well as the Google Play store.

Why, in the age of the Internet, do we emphasize in-person assistance? Research shows that those who received in-person assistance are twice as likely to enroll than those who tried to enroll by themselves. While using a website on one’s own to get coverage works for most people, the process can be confusing, especially for young adults who may be signing up for the first time.

The mode of delivery is just as important. Solely relying on an Internet-based system could exacerbate existing health care disparities. Many of the same people who lack Internet access also lack health coverage — Latinos are uninsured more than any other ethnic group in the United States and also have one of the lowest rates of Internet access at home.

Access to Internet through cell phones, however, is a much different story. Eighty-five percent of 18-29 year-olds use their cell phones to go online. Many populations with high rates of uninsurance, such as young adults, people of color and those who are low-income, rely on their phones, not computers, to access the Internet. While filling out a health insurance application and comparing plans on a phone is possible, it can be quite cumbersome. If a person does not have access to a computer, meeting with an in-person assister is that much more important.

Ultimately, the past two Open Enrollment periods have been grand experiments in creating the most accessible and technologically advanced system for health insurance enrollment. The system isn’t perfect yet, but by learning what works, we can use technology to meet the needs of our generation in ways we could have only dreamed of in the past.

And our primarily hope is that — through technology — we’re able to reach a wider net of Millennials who need health insurance to help them enroll.

Share Button