- CMS has announced several stepped-up strategies it will employ to reach out to young adults leading up to the 2017 Open Enrollment period.
- It noted that although the uninsured rate for young adults has dropped by more than half since the implementation of the ACA, this group is still more likely than others to remain without coverage.
- Covering more young people, who are more often healthy than older individuals, is expected to help balance the ACA marketplace risk pool and reduce overall costs.
The move follows other efforts this year that also aim to improve the ACA risk pool, including setting limits on short-term health plans to draw more healthy people into purchasing full coverage, and tightening controls on special enrollment to prevent people from waiting until they get sick to seek a plan.
The new strategies to grab young adults will include outreach to those who paid the individual responsibility penalty for being uninsured in 2015, or who claimed an exemption from that fee. According to the CMS, "Young adults are overrepresented among those who paid the fee, and healthier individuals of all ages presumably are as well."
The agency will also rely on "smarter" outreach during Open Enrollment, based on lessons learned from previous years that indicate the best messaging and timing to use to prompt people to complete unfinished applications and follow through with paying their first premium. "We’ve learned that sending an email, with the right information, at just the right time, can make a significant difference in whether someone gets covered, and those are lessons we’ll act on this year," the CMS stated.
Another strategy will involve helping young adults who are aging out of previous coverage to transition to marketplace plans, such as those turning 26 and leaving their parent’s plans. CMS is encouraging sponsors of employer plans to contact those young adults with information about their Marketplace options. The agency noted it has also reminded Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that they are obligated to help children aging out of those programs to transition to other coverage.