Twentysomething? Have We Got an Affordable Care Act Story For You

Oct 18, 2013, 2:00 PM

Alarmed at recent surveys that show only about ten percent of young Americans who say they are very familiar with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), staff reporters at Kaiser Health News (KHN) have crafted a clever article—winsome graphics included—aimed at getting the attention of millennials about the new health law in time for them to sign up before looming deadlines.  

Getting the attention of millennials on the state or federal health insurance exchanges, recently launched and going through overhauls, is crucial for two key reasons. One is that young adults no longer on their parents' plan (now allowed until age 26 under the ACA) often don’t bother with health insurance because they believe they’re invincible, so why shell out hundreds to thousands in premiums and deductibles? That works fine unless an accident or illness ensues, which can cost hundreds of thousands or more.  

file Kaiser Health News graphic aimed to appeal to "young invincibles"

And two, many millennial are indeed quite healthy, if not quite invincible, and the viability of the new health law relies on this younger pool paying in to help offset the cost of the many older adults who do rely on the system for treatment for new and chronic conditions.

The KHN piece ends with definitions of some key health insurance terms anyone buying insurance needs to know:

Deductibles — What you have to pay for care before your insurance begins to pay at least part of your bill.

Premiums — The money you shell out each month for your health care insurance, regardless of how much you used or didn’t use.

Copayments — The part of your bill that you pay out of your own pocket when you get medical care.

>>Bonus Link: More excellent information on the ACA and young adults is available from a group actually called Young Invincibles, which was founded four years ago at the height of the most recent heath reform debate. The group, based in D.C., says their mission is to ensure that “young adults are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates.” The group’s partners include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.