❝The individual mandate is among Obamacare’s most hated provisions. About two in three of Americans think the requirement to buy health insurance is a bad idea.
But recent enrollment data shows that the mandate is working. The exact type of people the requirement was meant to target — young, healthy adults who might forgo coverage were it not for a government fine — signed up in record numbers this year.
❝Having a decent number of young and health people in the insurance pool is integral to making costs affordable for everyone, which is exactly why the mandate exists in the first place. And architects of Obamacare’s enrollment strategy say that talking about the mandate — something Obamacare supporters didn’t really start doing until 2015 — has been core to making it work…
❝”The first year we were concerned it would be interpreted as a negative message, possibly turning people off,” says Anne Filipic, who runs Enroll America, a national nonprofit focused on getting the uninsured signed up for the health law’s insurance expansion.
But 2015 was different. Survey research had shown that, despite the mandate’s unpopularity, reminding the uninsured of the fees they’d face for remaining uninsured was an excellent way to encourage them to buy coverage. The penalty rose from $95 in 2014 to $695 in 2016…
New data suggests the new message was successful. In 2015, people under 35 made up 35 percent of Healthcare.gov’s open enrollment sign-ups. In 2014, the number stood at 33 percent. What’s more: Healthcare.gov netted 980,000 new enrollees under 35 this year, a big increase over the 670,000 new sign ups last year…
❝”The increase in young people is very encouraging,” she says. “The fine is going up, and we’re three years into this now. So the repeated message, seeing friends and family get coverage, all those things are now starting to come together.”
Americans are funny. We’re supposed to hate government unless it benefits us directly. So, insurance – when required – is something we try to avoid even though we benefit as individuals as much as collectively by costs coming down as a result of a broader compass of coverage.
So it was with auto insurance. So it is with health insurance.
Now, if we can only get the cretins in Congress to move ahead on single-payer provisions and negotiated prescription prices.