White House Makes New Push for Young ObamaCare Signups

The Obama administration is announcing new steps to increase ObamaCare outreach to young adults as it seeks to improve the stability of the healthcare law by bringing in more youthful, generally healthy participants.

Amid concerns from insurers about financial losses due to a sicker-than-expected pool of enrollees, the administration is stepping up its efforts ahead of the signup period for next year, which begins Nov. 1.

Last year, outreach did not increase the share of young people enrolled. Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of enrollees aged 18 to 34 remained flat, at 28 percent, according to administration data.

The administration announced Tuesday that it will feature ads for healthcare.gov on Twitch, a social video platform for gamers that it says attracts 10 million daily users.

It is also improving the ability to shop on the health insurance website on a mobile phone.

A range of partner organizations, including Planned Parenthood and the National Council of La Raza, will encourage their followers on social media to sign up.

The White House is also starting a Healthy Campus Challenge, which encourages college campuses to hold enrollment events and send students reminder emails. If campuses do so, they will be entered into a lottery to attend a Healthy Campus Day at the White House.

“While we’ve made tremendous strides, we have more work to do, given that the remaining uninsured are disproportionately young,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough wrote in ablog post. “And we know, anecdotally and through research, that the perceived lack of affordability may hinder them from buying health insurance.”

The announcements come as the White House hosts a forum on Tuesday to discuss ways to improve outreach to young people.

The administration has previously announced that it will be putting a greater emphasis on the financial penalty for lacking insurance, reaching out through the IRS to encourage people who paid the penalty to instead sign up for insurance.

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