Why Millenials need to know more about ObamaCare than just 'age 26'

The home page of Healthcare.gov.

The home page of Healthcare.gov.  (Healthcare.gov/FoxNews.com)

Ask students how long they can stay on their parents’ health insurance because of ObamaCare, and they will likely know the answer is until age 26.

But how about asking them when the individual mandate goes into effect, how the age rating restriction will impact premium costs, or what perverse incentives ObamaCare creates for employers to cut hours and paychecks?

Too many will be surprised to learn that the individual mandate penalty goes into effect on January 1.


Too many don’t know that the Affordable Care Act limits insurers’ ability to adjust premium costs based on factors such as age. 

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The ACA mandates that insurers can only charge older people as much as three times the rate charged to younger people, so insurers have less flexibility to charge lower premium costs for younger people. 

Too many young people haven’t yet realized that ObamaCare will shift more costs to them to pay for older, generally less healthy people. 

One study, for example, predicts those between the ages of 21 and 29 will be hit with a 42 percent premium cost increase under ObamaCare.

Similarly, young people aren’t likely to know that ObamaCare requires employers with the equivalent of 50 or more full-time workers to provide coverage or pay a penalty. 

Many businesses struggling in this economy have chosen to cut employees’ hours or keep the number of employees under 50. 

Who often suffers? Young workers and job-seekers.

During a recent speech on campus, I asked the crowd about some of these issues. They were indeed quick to recognize that they could stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, but they were unaware of the increased costs they would face once they had to buy insurance for themselves. 

This is a problem.

According to research cited in a recent report from the College Republican National Committee, “Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation,” 41 percent of the young people surveyed thought the overall impact of ObamaCare would be positive, and young people preferred how Democrats handled health care by a 63-37 margin. But do they really understand what the Democrats did?

Republicans and other critics of ObamaCare must more effectively make the negative impact of the law known to young people and do so in a compelling way.

This month, the Republican National Committee launched ObamaCareCosts.org, a website dedicated to showing the costs of ObamaCare. 

One video begins with the president touting the positive aspects of his reform effort and ends with a woman challenging his claims by complaining about the costs she faces. The website includes media clips, polls, and an interactive tool that visitors can use to find articles on the negative impact of ObamaCare in their local communities by entering their zip codes.

This puts the effects of this reckless legislation into human terms, and it’s a good demonstration of the real impact the law will have on people. We need more of this.

In 2010, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it….” It has been over three years since ObamaCare was signed into law, but too many people -- especially young people -- still don’t know what’s really in it. 

The administration knows it is important to win over young people. 

This summer, for example, Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, convened a meeting of celebrities to recruit them to sell the ACA, which included actor Kal Penn (a former Obama administration official), comedian Amy Poehler, Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and YouTube’s Daniel Kellison, among others.

If critics of ObamaCare want to undo the damage of this legislation and pursue health care reform, they must make an even greater effort to make the true costs and consequences of ObamaCare apparent to young people. 

Young people must know more about ObamaCare than “Age 26.”

Karin Agness is the founder and president of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), the nation's premier organization for conservative university women and a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women's Forum. Follow her on Twitter@KarinAgness.