In a desperate, last-ditch attempt to get 18-34 year-olds to sign up for Obamacare–those “young invincibles” who are expected to foot the bill for everyone else–the administration and allied independent groups are trying to reach them with comedy routines, cash prizes, and–most humorously of all–songs about health insurance. After the jump, a link to an article about all of this AND a link to such a song, including its various pop, folk, alternative, techno, dub, and hip-hop versions.
My esteemed 18-34 year-old readers, do you find this kind of insulting?
You have got to listen to Sing Forward and its various “remixes.” Would you consider this to be a really cool song that makes you want to jump to your feet and enroll for health insurance?
With roughly two weeks left in the open enrollment period for health insurance, some groups are trying to sell Obamacare to young people in terms they might actually understand: music, comedy, and cash.
Young Invincibles , a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that is focused on the economic issues affecting young adults, launched a sweepstakes last week where it is awarding a cash prize of $1,200 — enough to potentially cover a year’s worth of health insurance premiums for a young adult — to people who download their health care app or submit a card in the mail. The contest runs through the fall, but by launching it now, organizers hope young people who download the app can use it to learn more about whether they qualify for financial assistance and where they should go to sign up. “This last month is going to be a huge push for educating young adults,” says Jen Mishory, deputy director for Young Invincibles.
What’s behind these new incentives? A government report released Tuesday showed that 4.2 million people chose private insurance plans through March 1, meaning 2.8 million people would need to buy coverage this month if the Obama administration is to meet its initial goal of signing up 7 million people by the end of the enrollment period. In an analysis released Wednesday, Avalere Health, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., said it expects total enrollment will top out at 5.4 million by the end of the month.
Young people are particularly lagging behind in other groups in signing up. So far, 25% of those who have selected private plans are between the ages of 18 and 34. Administration officials have said repeatedly that they expect young and healthy people to put off signing up for insurance until the last minute. So groups are getting creative with their approach in the final push.
Zach Galifianakis scored a big get with his latest guest for “Between Two Ferns:” President Barack Obama. Their satirical interview helped push millions to the HealthCare.gov site on Tuesday, the White House says. Laura Meckler reports on the News Hub. Photo: FunnyOrDie.com.
Kyle Pfister, founder of Ninjas for Health, a startup based in Milwaukee that consults for public health agencies, got local musicians talking — and singing — about the law by giving them an artistic task: write a song about the benefits of getting health insurance. After more than 10 artists gathered to sing and record a video for the song, dubbed “Sing Forward,” he engaged other local musicians by challenging them with a competition to see who could develop the best remix of the song.
Some artists rapped the lyrics, while others submitted videos of them whistling the entire song. And some sped up the song and added techno beats. Hannah Conklin, one of the winners announced Wednesday afternoon, recorded herself on Valentine’s Day singing a folk version of the song on a street corner in Asheville, N.C., where she lives now, as two people dressed in heart costumes danced alongside her. “We will sing forward, our health to yours ,” the 28-year-old belted while strumming her red guitar.
Conklin, who sings by the name Hannah Rebekah, is the kind of artist Pfister is hoping to reach. She knew very little about the law when she moved back to the U.S. from Japan in September and doesn’t have insurance, but she is now talking to navigators about her options. And Anna Vogelzang, 29, the local artist who wrote the song, says many of her musician friends found less expensive insurance plans through the insurance exchanges. (She already had insurance through her husband’s job.) “We’re starting a conversation with people who wouldn’t normally be talking about this,” says Pfister, who says he has no hard numbers for how many people reached out to navigators or visited HealthCare.gov as a result of the contest.
State-based exchanges are also trying alternative approaches. DC Health Link, the exchange for Washington, D.C., promoted their new educational app at a local bar last week. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange in Washington state is partnering with roller derby groups to help spread the word. And Connect for Health Colorado held a comedy show for earlier this month in Greely that targeted young adults. Other groups are holding creative competitions and targeting specific professions. “We are trying to figure out how to get the most out of every hour,” says Rachel Klein, the enrollment program director for Families USA, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit consumer advocacy group that supports the law.