New Ad Campaign Pushes Utah Youth to Sign Up for Health Insurance

Take Care Utah Risky

Take Care Utah, a program of the Utah Health Policy Project, has launched a new social media campaign to encourage eligible Utahns, particularly young adults, to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The campaign, entitled “What’s More Risky…?”, features eight Utah-themed ads designed to specially target the younger demographic, so-called “young invincibles,”  who traditionally do not feel that health or medical issues will hit them and do not sign up for health insurance.

The ads feature popular activities like snowboarding and mountain biking, as well as more regional-based things like fry sauce, extra-wide streets, and the UofU/BYU “Holy War” football game. The message of the campaign is that the only thing riskier than doing these activities is doing them without health insurance coverage.

“We recognize that getting health insurance isn’t the first thing young adults think about,” said Jason Stevenson, Education and Communications Director for the Utah Health Policy Project. “So we’ve designed these ads—and a new series of enrollment events—to help them consider the health and financial benefits of getting insured. After all, a broken bone will heal faster than a credit score wrecked by medical bankruptcy.”

A slim budget ultimately resulted in the innovative—and organizers hope, viral—ad campaign. “We had less than $1000 in private funds to create and launch this campaign,” said Josh Marans, Communications and Members Services Coordinator at the Association for Utah Community Health. “We basically sat around a table and brainstormed ‘What’s unique and fun about Utah?’ We designed the ads using friends and family as our test market. We’re hoping the messages in the ads resonate with Utahns of all ages.”

The ads can currently be viewed and shared via the Facebook and Twitter feeds of Take Care Utah and its partner organizations, the Utah Health Policy Project, the Association for Utah Community Health, and United Way.

According to a report released last month from the Kaiser Family Foundation, up to 300,000 Utahns may be eligible for tax credits if they purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace. The Utah Health Policy Project itself estimates that 442,000 Utahns currently don’t have any form of health insurance.

After an infamously rough roll-out, it does appear that citizens of the state and nation are beginning to get on board with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In a report released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said 1.8 million applications have come into, amounting to 2.2 million individuals applying for coverage. Locally, just over 13,600 applications have been filed with the intention of covering 33,000 Utahns.

The report also notes that over 8,000 Utahns who have currently signed up through the Affordable Care Act website are eligible for Medicaid and/or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Governor Herbert has yet to make a formal decision on Medicaid expansion, though lawmakers signaled Thursday in a Legislative Health Reform Task Force meeting that they favor a program where public funds would be used to purchase private insurance either with or without federal government subsidies.

Editors note: UPC writer Alex Cragun contributed to the creation of the the “What’s More Risky…?” ad campaign.

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