The Young Invincibles, or the Young Under Informed?

April 2, 2014 Marijah Adams Cleek

The 2014 health insurance enrollment period is officially over. President Barack Obama is celebrating a last minute enrollment surge that officially brought the number of enrollees to 7.1 million, helping meet the initial goals for the Affordable Care Act.

During President Obama’s victory speech at the White House yesterday, he stated, “At times this reform has been contentious and confusing, and obviously it’s had its share of critics. That’s part of what change looks like in a democracy… but this law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working”

In part, he’s right. If we’re talking about the number of people who have signed up for healthcare since the October rollout, it’s absolutely working.

But is it a victory if one of the most targeted audiences, the Young Invincibles, doesn’t fully understand what they’re signing up for?

I had the opportunity to speak with some students at a Colorado Springs university yesterday about their knowledge of the ACA.

Kevin B., a 24-year-old Psychology major, said that he didn’t enroll in healthcare this year because it was all too much. “I will be penalized if I file taxes, but right now, I don’t make enough [to file],” he said.

Helen, 24, Jana, 20, and Kylie, 19, all stated that they were still covered under their parents’ plans, but none of them understood some of the basic components to the new plan options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Metal Levels.

Even though colleges are required by the Obama administration to pass out informative material on healthcare changes, none of the students I spoke with had received anything from the university.

When asked what would help them be better prepared to purchase insurance, the answer was unanimous – information.

“I’ve mostly seen commercials, but none of them were informative. They all focus on battling for or against [the act]. It was about politics, not healthcare,” said Kevin. “Awareness is the key factor. University seminars or short classes would help a lot.”

Helen said she’d like to hear more about her options from her doctor. “After all, he’s the one who’s getting the insurance payment.” She also said that buying insurance was a hassle for her dad on his own, so he eventually signed up through an agent.

And Kylie felt like information of any kind would be helpful. “When the time comes for me to buy my own plan, I don’t know if I will. I really don’t know anything about it.”

The lack of information available doesn’t just affect consumers. Uninformed consumers who decide to pay the penalty instead of purchasing insurance are also a loss for insurance providers and doctors. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of these entities to ensure that people understand what they are purchasing and how they can use it.

CodeBaby’s Intelligent Virtual Assistants are an excellent resource to educate young consumers on which plans will help them get the most from their healthcare experience.

Like what you read? Here are some other posts you might be interested in:

All Enrollees Are Not Created Equal: The benefits enrollment challenge

What is a Health Plan Navigator?

Virtual Assistance with Online Benefits Enrollment 

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