At Young Invincibles, we’ve spent the last month constantly sharing information about open enrollment – how to get health insurance for the uninsured, and what consumers can expect when they shop around for coverage this year. The early numbers were good – much better than anyone expected, in fact. By the end of the fifth week of open enrollment, over 3.6 million people had signed up for plans. That number continues to outpace the same point last year, a fact that many shared and celebrated. Even though more people are signing up daily, open enrollment is half as long as last year, meaning the overall enrollment trend is down. As we begin the final week stretch, we’re behind where we need to be, with little chance of making up the difference without an all-hands on deck, full speed advertising blitz.
The Trump administration cut this year’s advertising budget by 90 percent. Strong early enrollment numbers are heartening given this challenge, but data shows that advertising is crucial in the final two week push in order to reach younger consumers to remind them about the deadline and about financial help. Josh Peck, former Chief Marketing Officer at HealthCare.Gov, estimates that cutting the advertising budget alone will cost 1.1 million fewer consumers to enroll in coverage.
For consumers, it’s been a confusing time to shop for health coverage. Many people are unsure if the law still exists or if the Affordable Care Act had in fact been repealed. Others have seen headlines about health care subsidies ending, or that premiums are skyrocketing. This has understandably created an atmosphere of confusion with consumers not knowing where to turn. In reality, thanks to an unintended effect by the Administration’s decision to end CSR payments to insurers, health care plans are actually much cheaper than they have ever been. For those who qualify for help paying their premiums, the vast majority can find a plan for $75 or less. In some cases much less — 4.5 million people have access to a $0 premium bronze plan. For example, a 27 year old making about $25,000 a year can find a plan for just $22 per month on average.
These low prices are undoubtedly a big driving factor for why so many people have enrolled in a plan already. But, there’s still work to do to reach the remaining uninsured and those who need to renew their coverage. Want to get involved in the final push? Here’s what you can do:
- Make sure you’re covered: If you need health insurance yourself, go to HealthCare.Gov to enroll in a plan. If you already have health coverage through HealthCare.Gov, make sure to update your account information and shop around – it’s very likely you could find a plan that’s cheaper and suits you better!
- Spread the word to your friends, family, and coworkers: Share information about the December 15 deadline on social media, through your church, your school, and your work, post flyers at your favorite restaurant and coffee shops, send emails to alumni associations, networking listservs, or any other way you share information
- Find an event near you and help out: Help connect people to Navigators and in-person assisters in your community who can help folks enroll in a plan
Today, Friday, December 8th is National Youth Enrollment Day – a day of action where Young Invincibles is connecting uninsured young adults all over the country to health coverage. This will be our 5th National Youth Enrollment Day; in past years we’ve held hundreds of events all across the country to help young people connect to Navigators and assisters in their community, learn more about health insurance, and gain the knowledge they need to enroll in a plan that fits them best. This year, we’re continuing to hold enrollment events out in the community, and taking over social media to help spread the word before the December 15 deadline. Join us today, this National Youth Enrollment Day, commit to spreading the word in your community for folks both young and old. We’ll be online with #GetCoveredMillennials for inspiration!