Get Covered America Campaign Goes “Back to School” To Educate Young People About New Health Insurance Options

As Students and Parents Head Back to School, Get Covered America Holds Events Nationwide to Raise Awareness of New Health Insurance Marketplace Coming in October

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
CONTACT: Justin Nisly
Press@enrollamerica.org | (202) 650-7985

Washington, DC — With open enrollment in the new health insurance marketplaces set to begin in just 34 days, Enroll America is working with partners around the country to make sure young people are aware of the new insurance options that will soon be available to them through the Affordable Care Act. From orientations on community college campuses to backpack giveaways, organizers and volunteers with the Get Covered America campaign are joining back to school efforts to get the word out to uninsured students and parents that they will soon be able to purchase a quality health plan that fits their needs and their budget.

“We know that even though young adults value and want health insurance, they haven’t been able to afford it in the past,” said Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America. “Thanks to new health insurance options coming in October, many young people will for the first time be able to afford quality insurance that covers doctors visits, preventive care, and mental health services. So we’re starting conversations with college students and young workers at back-to-school fairs, community college campuses, clinics, and workforce centers. And we’re finding that young people are eager to learn more about how to enroll.”

All over the country, Get Covered America events are spreading the message that health insurance coverage is just as important for the coming school year as books and backpacks. In Texas, Get Covered America has assisted consumers at more than a dozen back to school events and neighborhood health fairs in recent weeks. Last weekend, thousands received information at a back to school fair hosted by the Austin Independent School District. In Florida, organizers talked to hundreds of consumers at backpack giveaways, including young parents who had to make the tough choice between paying for health care and paying for new school supplies. And today in Ohio, Enroll America President Anne Filipic will host a press conference on the campus of Cincinnati State, a 10,000-student technical and community college.

Additionally, since young people get so much of their information online and through social media, Get Covered America is mounting an aggressive social media campaign and using tools like text messaging to reach them. Since the campaign launch two months ago, the Get Covered America Facebook and Twitter content has already been viewed over 2 million times, and the #GetCovered hashtag has been seen by 1 million people.

Who Are the Young Uninsured?

Young adults – specifically, those aged 19-34 – comprise nearly 40% of the uninsured, far more than their share of the population. Non-student young adults, including young parents and working and unemployed Millennials, are likely to lack health insurance because they’re just starting out in their careers and may have jobs that don’t offer health coverage, or can’t afford it on their own – especially if they have children. Although full-time students at four-year universities are more likely to have coverage under student health plans, they face losing coverage when they graduate or after they turn 26 and don’t qualify for their parents’ insurance anymore. Students at community colleges frequently lack coverage because those schools often serve minority or lower-income students, and many community colleges do not offer student health plans.

“When I turned 18, my mom couldn’t afford to keep me on her health plan,” said Justine Scott, an uninsured 24-year-old from South Florida. “I have a 401k plan through my employer, but not health insurance. This fall, I can’t wait to see what the Health Insurance Marketplace has to offer me so I can finally get the coverage I need and not have to worry about what could happen if I get hurt or sick.”

Contrary to the common myth of the “young invincible,” studies have shown that most young adults do understand the importance of health insurance; they just haven’t been able to afford it in the past. A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll from June 2013 found that three-quarters of young adults say health insurance is “very important,” and a recent study from the Commonwealth Fund found that affordability, not “invincibility,” was the top reason why young adults lacked health coverage.

With health insurance marketplaces opening across the country on October 1, young adults will finally be able to shop for a health insurance plan the way they would for any other important purchase in their life, comparing plans side by side with no fine print. And financial help will be available so everyone can now find a plan that fits their budget.

“As young adults go back to school – or send their own kids back to school – we don’t want them to face another school year with worry about getting hurt playing sports, or that an unexpected health scare will force them to drop out,” said Filipic. “The new health insurance marketplaces that open on October 1 provide young people the best opportunity ever to get the peace of mind that comes with having an affordable health care plan.”

About Get Covered America and Enroll America

Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance options that will be made available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in ten states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about the new health coverage options coming in October and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

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For information on the Get Covered America campaign, visit www.GetCoveredAmerica.org.

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