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Illinois Health Matters

By Brian Burrell, Midwest Regional Manager

Two months ago, Young Invincibles launched our Midwest Regional office here in Chicago. One of the main reasons why we chose to come to Illinois is that it has one of the highest numbers of uninsured young adults. In Cook County alone, over 158,000 19-35 year olds could be eligible for Medicaid and another 190,000 could be eligible for tax credits to make health insurance more affordable. Across the state, 286,000 19-35 year olds could receive Medicaid. Another 345,000 young adults in Illinois could receive tax credits. Young Invincibles was founded around providing a voice for young adults in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) debate. Since then, we’ve worked hard to educate our generation about the benefits of the ACA, even as we expanded to work on other economic issues that affect young adults. As of October 1st, the launch of the health care marketplaces, we’ve been hard at work with Illinois Health Matters and many other organizations here in Illinois to spread information about the ACA to many uninsured young adults.

Uninsured by region in Chicago. From Visualizing Health Matters
Uninsured by region in Chicago. From Visualizing Health Matters

To help with that effort, we’re dispelling a few myths about young adults and health insurance that we’ve heard a lot.

Myth #1: Young adults choose not to get health care because they think they’re young and invincible.

This misconception is actually how Young Invincibles got its name! For the most part, our generation does not believe we are invincible, but instead have been shut out of buying insurance because it traditionally had been too expensive for many people. In fact, over 70% of young adults say that health insurance is very important to them. But, many young adults are just beginning their careers and may be working part-time jobs where they aren’t offered health coverage by their employer and can’t afford it on their own. With the ACA, that will change a lot. Now, a majority of uninsured young adults will be eligible for Medicaid or new tax credits to help reduce the cost of health insurance.

Myth #2: Young adults are young and healthy and won’t get sick or injured.

With more accessible health care, we will be able to take care of ourselves. While injuries can come at any time, like a broken finger playing softball or partially collapsed lung from falling on a speaker (both of which are true stories), it’s harder to predict when you’ll get hurt or sick. Coverage offers protections against those catastrophes.  Moreover, many preventive services are now covered under the ACA, such as blood pressure tests, cholesterol screenings, HIV screenings, and many common immunizations. By taking advantage of these new, free benefits, you can prevent and treat diseases and conditions before they become a major issue, saving you money and improving your health.

Myth #3: Obamacare and the ACA are two different things. Obamacare is a type of insurance to be purchased.

Many people are still confused by the use of different names for the Affordable Care Act, such as Obamacare and the ACA. The Affordable Care Act, ACA, and Obamacare all refer to the same law.

There is also no government insurance takeover of private insurance. The only government insurance  are programs like Medicare and Medicaid. If you buy a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will be purchasing private insurance, but with new protections and preventive care to ensure that you are buying a comprehensive plan that truly does cover your health care needs.

While these are just some of the common myths and misconceptions out there about the ACA, we still have a lot of work to do to get more information out to the people who need it. Check us out at to see what resources and information we have available. You can also vote in our video contest! Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter and Facebook, too!