There’s a term that those in the health-care conversation use to describe my age group. Ordinarily, we’re known as Millennials, Generation Y, or just plain “young people”—it depends which magazines you read—but in health care-speak, we’re “Invincibles.” Why? Because for most of us, the insurance premiums we pay far outweigh the cost of whatever treatment we need. Our dollars, which offset the cost of taking care of older and more infirm individuals, are essential to running a health-insurance system. We’re the ideal insurance customers, a gaggle of golden geese.
Because of that, something rare has happened: As the Affordable Care Act sputters to life, Millennials, under-addressed and criminally under-represented in Washington, D.C., are now in the center of the arena. Because they are “invincible”—and because the embattled ACA needs every enrollee it can get—Millennials find themselves in a rare make-or-break position: the most critical age group in determining the success or failure of the government’s hottest-button program.
It still remains to be seen how young people will react. Even with all the troubles Obamacare has had, previous cases show that paltry early enrollment is nothing new, and, at the moment, we are most certainly “in play.” Obamacare advocates and detractors on state and national levels have sought out, in particular, that under-26 group still peeking from behind the curtain of their parents’ health care, and are engaged in an advertising tug-of-war for their allegiances.