Californians Urged To ‘Give The Gift Of Health’ And Help Loved Ones Enroll In Obamacare

CREDIT: Covered California

Covered California, the state-level exchange created under Obamacare, is encouraging residents to give an unusual gift to their loved ones this holiday season: The gift of health.

In a new “Gift of Health” campaign launched this month, Covered California hopes to empower family members to open up conversations about health care. “This holiday season, make the pledge to ensure that your loved ones have health coverage,” the group explains on a new website. “If you have family members who are uninsured, you can play a big part in helping them find coverage that works for them.”

The group is offering tips for starting a discussion about the importance of having insurance and resources about how to enroll in coverage. When it comes to a holiday present, people could offer to pay for the first month of a loved one’s health coverage under Obamacare, or send them an e-card with more information about their new options under the health reform law.

“You can’t make the medical decisions for your adult children, but you can help them get affordable health insurance under Covered California,” Claire Lipschultz, the state policy advocate for the National Council of Jewish Women-California, explained in a statement released by the new campaign. “Young adults tend to think that nothing will harm them. Moms know you are healthy until you are not. So, be sure your loved ones are covered.”

The campaign is specifically geared toward young adults, who may not believe they need to purchase insurance because they’re relatively healthy. Health insurance advocates refer to this demographic as “young invincibles,” and a lot of the public awareness campaigns about Obamacare have been focused on convincing these people to enroll. Since Obamacare extends coverage to older and sicker people who may have previously been locked out the insurance marketplace because of their costly care, the exchanges will need enough young and healthy people to provide a good balance and keep premiums down. The Obama administration is hoping to sign up at least seven million young Americans.

But last week, a new poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics found that many Americans in that target demographic aren’t feeling very positively about Obamacare. Among the respondents between the ages of 18 and 29, about 40 percent thought their quality of care would get worse under the new law, while about 50 percent said they expected their health costs to increase. That inspired a round of bleak headlines about the future of the health reform law.

However, polling has also consistently found that despite some of the current frustrations with Obamacare, most uninsured people still want to give the law a chance to work, and still plan to try to enroll. And the young Americans surveyed in the Harvard poll are no different. More than half the young participants said they’d consider signing up for a plan under Obamacare if they needed it. And the Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta points out, there are “more than three times as many uninsured young people eligible for subsidies as the program needs to enroll under its best-case scenario to work” — so even if some members of this demographic have increasingly negative attitudes about Obamacare, that may not actually prevent the health law from hitting its enrollment targets in this area.