YI: Young People Of Color Need Health Care Access Via Smartphones

on Tuesday, Mar. 27th

This week the Supreme Court began hearing arguments that affirm or deny the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA)—that started taking effect a little more than a year ago.

Turnstyle reached out to Young Invincibles (YI)a group in support of health care reform representing the interests of 18-to-34-year-olds. They submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the constitutionality of “Obamacare.”

YI recently released a report about how young people of color will benefit the most from certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act that will go into effect in 2014. When Medicaid expands to include young people, an additional nine million young adults will have access to coverage. On top of that, eight million more young adults will gain access to subsidies for health care.

Within that demographic, the report says that young people of color are the most likely to be uninsured—53.6 percent of Hispanics and 34 percent of Blacks between 18 and 29 years old were uninsured.

The question at Young Invincibles was how to reach this young uninsured population. The answer? Through their smartphones.

Young people and people of color are the most likely populations to use their smartphones for Internet access, according to the report, and these young adults are also most likely to access their health care through their mobile phones.

“You pull all these pieces of data together … and this web portal would be ideal,” said Rory O’Sullivan, policy director for Young Invincibles.

O’Sullivan explained that by making health insurance exchanges available via smartphone, many more young people will be likely to get coverage. Health exchanges are sites that will serve as intermediaries between the customer and the insurance company. They will allow people to compare plans side by side to figure out which option is best for them. They are another part of the Affordable Care Act, set to be implemented in 2014. These sites will also assist in determining whether a customer is eligible for subsidies.

O’Sullivan said that the Supreme Court could decide to just strike the mandatory minimum coverage provision from the ACA—in which case, the health insurance exchanges would still be put in place. But if they decide to strike the whole law, the 2.5 million young people who already gained coverage by going back on their parents’ health care plans would lose coverage, creating an even larger population of uninsured young people.

The report was done in conjunction with the Greenlining Institute, which is a research, policy and advocacy organization that focuses on communities of color.

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