What 26-Year-Olds’ Health Care Has to Do with the NFL

July 2, 2014

When storms and power outages keep people inside for days left to their own devices, few are surprised when, nine months later, hospitals report a boom in childbirths. Similarly, when calamity struck for football fans in the fall of 1987—with a national players’ strike that shortened the National Football League season and left stations to instead broadcast games played by Canadian Football League scabs—a lot of Texas football fans turned to one another for comfort. Many of the resulting “NFL strike babies,” born in 1988, are now turning 26 and aging off of their parents’ health care plans, making them eligible for low-cost coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Football fans with the Get Covered America campaign are calling some of them today to wish them happy birthdays and let them know about a chance to stay insured and sign up for coverage.baby-with-football

“For some Texans who love their football, the silver lining to the 1987 NFL players’ strike is that they now have these children who have a chance to continue having affordable health coverage,” said Noel Rincon, a Regional Organizing Lead with Get Covered America.

If you’re 26, here’s what you should know:

  • Many current and soon-to-turn 26 year olds have already benefited from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that allowed them to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan through the age of 25, and now, when they turn 26, many qualify for coverage with financial assistance in the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Young adults who would otherwise lose coverage can start enrolling 60 days prior to their 26th birthday, and they have 60 days after their birthday to complete enrollment without having to pay a fine for being uninsured. In order to avoid any gap in coverage, it’s recommended that young adults sign up for a new marketplace plan by the 15th day of the last month they’ll be covered on their parents’ plan.
  • Most will qualify for financial assistance to bring down the price of their premiums. More than 8 in 10 Texans who got covered earlier this year received tax credits, and half of that group pays $50 or less per month for coverage.

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(The theory that the NFL strike of 1987 was disaster enough to lead to a summer of 1988 baby boom was first posed, perhaps tongue in cheek, by an Associated Press reporter looking into the connection between birth rates and widespread emergencies.)

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