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National Effort Focused on Enrolling Young Adults in ACA

PHOTO: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell with Jason Donofrio from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund at a recent White House Healthy Young America Conference, which included a focus on "National Youth Enrollment Day." Photo courtesy of Arizona PIRG.
PHOTO: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell with Jason Donofrio from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund at a recent White House Healthy Young America Conference, which included a focus on "National Youth Enrollment Day." Photo courtesy of Arizona PIRG.
January 27, 2015

PHOENIX - Younger adults in Arizona and around the nation are being encouraged to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this Thursday on "National Youth Enrollment Day."

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is among a coalition of organizations working on college campuses and communities to help get health insurance for residents in the 18-to-34 age group. Campaign organizer Jason Donofrio says success comes from making have a concerted, concentrated effort.

"This is one day where we wanted to talk specifically to young adults and engage young adults," he says. "We're letting them know, 'You have rights and options when it comes to health insurance.'"

Donofrio says the goal is to get as many people insured as possible before the current Open Enrollment period closes on Feb. 15. He says as many as one in five younger Americans don't have health insurance.

According to Donofrio, many young people did not get health insurance before the Affordable Care Act because it was too expensive. He says now it's affordable, but some don't get health insurance because it can be a complicated process.

"We would hear students say, 'It's literally so confusing, I'd rather just take my chances.' And that's where our free in-person help comes into play," he says. "We know that signing up for health insurance can be complicated."

Donofrio notes it's also important to enroll young people in the ACA because they help reduce the overall cost of insurance for everyone, and younger users are considered lower risk by insurance companies.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ