As of Oct. 1, millions of Americans can now sign up for affordable health care insurance. On the first day of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, more than 4.7 million people visited the federal exchange site, HealthCare.gov, and more than 190,000 made calls to the health care hotline.
For the first time, the 17 million young Americans living without health insurance have an opportunity to explore the marketplace exchanges and purchase affordable health care. It’s no secret that the success of the Affordable Care Act is in part dependent on millennials taking part in the exchanges. But some groups are employing scare tactics and misinformation targeted at convincing millennials to opt out.
As of now, these efforts have been criticized by numerous media outlets and officials for their ridiculous take on the “dangers” of healthcare enrollment, but it’s important that young Americans continue to be educated on the positive tenets of the new health care marketplace.
When it comes to scare tactics, the conservative Generation Opportunity is leading the charge.
The group — which is based in Virginia and has been “catfishing” young people on social media — has expanded their Opt-Out campaign to include a commercial depicting a frightening version of Uncle Sam invading a woman’s privacy during a visit to the gynecologist. And this week, Evan Feinberg, former congressional candidate and president of the Koch-funded organization, placed an op-ed in a handful of newspapers across the country urging millennials to opt-out of health care exchanges. Feinberg claimed that participating in health exchanges will result in generational redistribution.
That is simply untrue. Health insurance is just like other types of insurance: An individual pays a monthly premium, and then everyone’s premium is pooled together to help pay for individuals’ care. If this is what he meant by generational redistribution, the private market produces the same result.
What’s more, they say “opting-out” will save you money. “You might have to pay a fine, but that’s going to be cheaper for you and better for you,” Feinberg told Yahoo! News. But even the group’s spokesperson can’t get that math to work, as The Atlantic discovered.
Here at Generation Progress, we’ve taken a different approach — clarity.
Along with a coalition of partner groups, we are coordinating large-scale efforts both on the ground and through online platforms to educate and engage young Americans on what the ACA will really mean. Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of uninsured young Americans have more, and more affordable, options. Young people under 26 can now stay on their parents’ plans. Those who work multiple part-time jobs that don’t offer employer provided health insurance can now browse the marketplace and choose an affordable option that best fits their needs. And the exchange marketplace is providing young people with access to better and more cost-effective healthcare options.
It’s important for young Americans to get more accurate and comprehensive information about the health care exchange marketplace from reliable sources in the health sector such as Planned Parenthood, Doctors for America and Enroll America.
The health care exchanges are a smart option for millennials. They provide more options and more access for uninsured young Americans.
To make coverage more affordable, there are federal subsidies in place. Any American with annual gross income less than 400% of the federal poverty limit, or $44,680, is eligible for subsidies they would not get from a private plan. Some millennials may even qualify for no-cost coverage under Medicaid. A catastrophic plan is also available for individuals under 30 at a lower cost than some plans in the private market, providing preventative care with three primary care visits and no out-of-pocket costs.
We know that scare tactics simply won’t work. Young Americans are smart enough to see beyond these illogical campaigns, and we overwhelming understand the value of having access to affordable health insurance for every American.
Anne Johnson is the executive director of Generation Progress. You can #GetCovered or learn more at Healthcare.gov.