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CMS Announces New Plan to Strengthen the Marketplace by Covering Young Adults

ACa blog image June 30 - NOT croppedAs part of its continued commitment to the long-term strength of the Marketplace, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a series of actions to step up Marketplace outreach, especially to young adults, for the 2017 Open Enrollment period [November 1, 2016–January 31, 2017].

According to CMS, highlights include:

  • New outreach to uninsured people who paid the individual responsibility penaltyFor the first time this fall, CMS will conduct outreach to individuals and families who paid the fee for being uninsured, or claimed an exemption from that fee, for 2015. Young adults are overrepresented among those who paid the fee, and healthier individuals of all ages presumably are as well. This new outreach strategy will directly reach millions of people who were recently uninsured and may newly appreciate the value of Marketplace coverage.
  • Smarter outreach during Open Enrollment, especially to young adults. Research during the 2016 Open Enrollment showed that young adults are almost twice as likely as older consumers to enroll because they receive an email about Marketplace coverage. During the upcoming Open Enrollment, CMS will draw on lessons learned this year about the messages, timing, and tactics that make email outreach more effective.
  • Facilitating young adults’ coverage transitions. CMS is making it easier for issuers to conduct outreach to young adults turning age 26 and moving off their parent’s plans. CMS also provided states and outreach organizations with $32 million in additional funding to help with Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) outreach. In conjunction with that funding announcement, CMS reminded them of their obligation to help children aging out of Medicaid and CHIP transition to Marketplace or other coverage.
  • Public-private partnerships to engage young adults. HHS has created a network of diverse outreach partners. Partnerships include:
    • Lyft: New this year, Lyft will develop user discount codes for people utilizing the ride-sharing service to attend Open Enrollment events where they can receive assistance signing up for coverage via the ACA. In addition, Lyft will again amplify enrollment deadlines and the importance of getting health insurance via the ACA to their drivers in 190 cities.
    • American Hospital Association: Along with other actions, the American Hospital
    • Association will develop a social media toolkit that hospitals may use to reach young adults in their communities to educate them about health insurance, how to enroll in the Marketplace, where to go for enrollment assistance, and information about subsidies.
    • Coordinated Young Adults campaigns. Along with more than 75 partnering organizations, Enroll America, Young Invincibles, and Out2Enroll are announcing four targeted campaigns for the 2017 Open Enrollment. These campaigns are aimed at reaching the broad population of young adults, community college students, young families, and LGBTQ youth. To help focus these efforts, the White House will host a National Millennial Health Summit on September 27, 2016.

For detailed information about these Open Enrollment efforts, see the CMS fact sheet, Strengthening the Marketplace by Covering Young Adults.

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