How Obamacare has Failed to Reach Invincibles

Reactionary, shortsighted, and fickle are several words that are used to describe the younger generation. They also provide insight into why the government has less than stellar enrollment rates for this group.

As expected, people under 35 (often called “the invincibles”) are not seeking healthcare. As touched on in a previous blog, this demographic is crucial for the ACA’s success. However, they are also the demographic least likely to look into it.

The invincibles are important because they are expected to offset the costs associated with the elderly and older demographics. While there are hefty costs associated with older and high-risk Americans, the government is depending on the invincibles to offset their costs.

According to the Washington Post, while the under 35 demographic are enrolling at lower than projected rates, they are increasingly signing up over time. They graph below shows enrollment rates in Colorado:

Colorado enrollment rates, Invincibles being least represented

 However, Washington Post says that it is difficult to decipher whether this trend spells bad news for healthcare reform. “Most accurately though, this is probably too-soon-to-tell-what’s-happening news,” Washington Post says.  With two months left in the enrollment period, there is still time for younger people to sign up.

Also, the issue may compound itself. Hispanic outreach has been less-than-stellar as well. According to the newswire Slate, since the creation of  the government’s health enrollment website for Spanish speakers, cuidadodesalud.gov, there have been issues with accurate translation. It has been widely criticized for Spanglish, and for redirected English-language pages that make it difficult for Spanish speakers to navigate.

So why is this important? Slate says Hispanics make up a very large portion of the invincibles. “Many of those uninsured Hispanics are the young, healthy applicants that the administration is counting on to enter the insurance pool,” Slate mentions.

Aside from the hiccups with the website, government marketers and healthcare providers will have to make up for lost time and effectively reach Hispanics and people under 35 for the new healthcare system to have a chance.