When most people think of who may benefit most from Obamacare, a bunch of fratty dudes doing keg stands probably doesn’t come immediately to mind.
But that demographic — relatively healthy young people between the ages of 18-36 who may not need health insurance — are critical to the Affordable Care Act if it’s to succeed in keeping premiums low for older and sicker Americans, according to a recent report by the National Center for Public Policy Research.
Hence the binge drinkers featured in Colorado’s new “Got Insurance?” ad campaign encouraging people to sign up for health insurance through its state-run health-care exchange.
The ad depicts three stereotypically insufferable bros, “Rob, Zach & Sam, Bros for Life,” pounding beers straight from a keg.
“Brosurance,” the tag line reads. “Doing keg stands is crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier. Don’t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We got it covered.”
“Zach and Sam” are also featured in an ad showing them on the golf course (wearing the same clothes in which they were just chugging beer) a split second before one crushes the other’s skull with what looks like a 4-iron. The soon-to-be victim cluelessly calls his mom to ask, “Do I got insurance?”
One Twitter user critiqued the ad as appealing to “really stupid young people with no understanding of their finances.”
That may not be far from the truth. According to a recent report from the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, young healthy people are critical to whether or not Obamacare will succeed.
“If the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges are to function properly, it is crucial that a substantial number of people ages 18-34 join them,” according to the report released in August. “This age group that is young and relatively healthy must purchase health insurance on the exchanges in order to ‘cross-subsidize’ people who are older and sicker. Without the young and healthy, the exchanges will enter a ‘death spiral’ where only the older and sicker participate and price of insurance premiums will increase precipitously.”
The report argues that it’s against young adults’ interests to sign up for health insurance through the exchanges if they’re healthy, rather than pay the federal fine imposed on people without insurance.
“Over 3.7 million individuals will pay at least $595 out-of-pocket for a Bronze plan, meaning that they will save at least $500 if they decline insurance and pay the fine,” the report said. “About 3 million individuals will save at least $1,000 if they go the same route.”
The ads are modeled after the popular “Got Milk?” campaign, according to a press release from the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. The campaign is specifically aimed at “women, families and young adults,” the release said.
The campaign will roll out new ads until at least Dec. 15.
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