Enrolling young, healthy individuals is a key piece of making sure that health insurance exchanges work. And yet, millions of young Americans remain uninsured across the country.
With that in mind, the White House announced Tuesday that the federal government is undertaking new strategies to better target millennials for coverage, with open enrollment starting in a little over a month, Nov. 1. Efforts will include new smartphone apps and partnerships, among other things. The Obama administration also hosted a Millennial Outreach and Engagement Summit on Tuesday, in which several health care stakeholders participated, including the American Hospital Association.
More than than 90 percent of young adults who are eligible to use the health insurance marketplaces have incomes that qualify them for tax credits, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notes in a press release.
“But that fact hasn’t fully penetrated the millennial community, and we want to change that,” Kevin Counihan, HealthCare.gov CEO, said in the release. “This year, we’ll be using new tactics and strategies to reach young adults where they are and deliver the message that they have affordable coverage options. These new tactics will both benefit young Americans and strengthen the Marketplace risk pool.”
CMS’ announcement includes four new tactics to entice young people to buy insurance:
- New Digital Platforms: For the first time, outreach will make use of online platforms geared specifically toward the young. One such example is the social video app and community Twitch. There, CMS plans to offer up a homepage takeover and a “pre-roll” before videos, among other things.
- Mobile 2.0: CMS is making it easier for milennials to shop for coverage on a mobile device, which is the only way about one in five in that population accesses the Internet. “This year, consumers will find an end-to-end, mobile optimized experience, including a new state-of-the-art shopping process that for the first time offers improved ability to comparison shop on their phone or tablet,” according to the release.
- Targeted and Coordinated Partner Campaigns: During open enrollment, CMS and its partners plan to organize a social media outreach campaign using the hashtag #HealthyAdulting. Check out the release for the full list of partners and activities.
- Collaborating with Federal Partners and Program: Finally, CMS is working in concert with partners such as the Department of Defense and the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs to reach young people enrolled in their programs who might need marketplace coverage. The Internal Revenue Service will help by reaching out to the uninsured who have paid the individual responsibility penalty or claimed an exemption in their taxes.
On a related note, the AHA also plans to release a video next month, in both English and Spanish, to help hospitals reach young adults in their communities, educate them about the importance of health insurance, and direct them on where to go for enrollment assistance. The association is promoting existing digital enrollment tools, too, such as the Get Covered Connector, which directs hospital website traffic to enrollment assistance, alongside developing materials for hospitals to use about the importance of maintaining and renewing coverage.