Last November was no cakewalk for the Obama administration when it came to coaxing millennials into the Obamacare system.
They had to fight an uphill battle against rising premium costs, high youth unemployment, and the skyrocketing costs of education. The key to the success of this law is the percentage of millennials who signed up, offsetting the higher costs of insuring older, less healthy Americans.
According the Obama administration, by the end of last year’s open enrollment season 28 percent of total Obamacare enrollees were millennials. Although, it is not known how many of these millennials are under the age of 26 and were insured through parental policies. Either way, this is well below the 40 percent of millennials the administration claimed they needed to keep premium costs low.
Now, the second season of open enrollment for Obamacare is quickly approaching and a close eye will once again be placed on the number of millennials enrolling and reenrolling in the law. Unfortunately, for President Barack Obama and his law, the millennial problem that plagued the enrollment period last year has gotten worse.
The foreshadowing of another Obamacare millennial problem is the fact the administration recently announced that the 8 million enrollees it touted last April has been revised down to 7.3 million. The original number has been downgraded because individuals have either never paid their premiums or filed the correct paper work.
The Obama administration made the law and enrolling very confusing, and millennials are drawn to easy streamline Apple-esque convenience. This is something the federal government is lacking in Healthcare.gov and in general making the entire process unappealing to millennials.
Regrettably, youth unemployment has stayed roughly the same since last year. It is still twice the national average at 15.8 percent, leaving many millennials without disposable income to spend on rising monthly insurance premiums.
Last year, as expected, millennials waited until the last weeks to enroll. The only reason many of them eventually enrolled is because the Obama administration kept pushing back the end date of the open enrollment period.
This year the enrollment period is cut in half, leaving Health and Human Services with an uphill battle to win over millennials. And with many millennials dishing out big bucks for the new iPhone 6 they need all the luck they can get to pry those high premiums fees out of their hands.
AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI
Furthermore, the shortened enrollment period, from November 15 to February 15, is right in the middle of the holidays. This is a very expensive time for most Americans and the last thing millennials, who are lucky enough to have a job, want to do is spend their hard earned money on skyrocketing monthly insurance premiums.
Deloitte did a study of millennials after the last open enrollment period and found that a full two thirds decided to not purchase insurance through the Obamacare exchanges solely based of the high cost.
This year will be the start of the Obamacare penalty. Those who remain uninsured will have to pay a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their income, which ever is higher. The 2014 Wells Fargo Millennial Study found that the average income of millennials is $66,500 making the penalty for the average millennial $655.
According to Nerd Wallet, the averaged insured millennial will spend $1,717 out of pocket for their health care and those who remain uninsured will only spend $348. Adding the penalty to that it is still cheaper to remain uninsured solidifying the HHS millennial problem.
The millennial generation was hit hardest by the 2008 recession and it has yet to recover making the Obamacare sell that much harder. The average net worth of millennials is $10,400, their average unemployment is 15.8 percent, they make up a total of 40 percent of the unemployed, and have the highest student loan debt in American history.
On top of all these economic hardships they are expected to susidize older Americans health care costs by paying higher insurance premiums.
This second enrollment season for Obamacare will either show that those who have enrolled can support the law or it will begin to hemorrhage money and can be added to the long list of wasteful government programs adding to the national debt. The Obama administration has a much bigger mountain to climb this year when trying to convince millennials Obamacare is a good buy.
Salvator La Mastra is a youth vote and millennial expert. Follow @SalvatorV. For media inquiries email Sal.LaMastra@gmail.com
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