An advocacy group that claims to represent the interests of Americans aged 18 to 34 is raffling off a cash prize of $1,200 in an effort to spur people in the ostensibly youthful age cohort to sign up for government-mandated health insurance before the March 31 enrollment deadline.
The advocacy group is Young Invincibles, a nonprofit out of Washington, D.C.
The raffle – the Healthy Young America App Sweepstakes – is related to the launch of the Healthy Young America App, which promises users the ability to navigate the thicket of Obamacare coverage using their mobile phones.
“By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants could win $1,200, about the average cost of health care coverage for an uninsured young person for a year on the new Health Insurance Marketplace,” reads a press release from Young Invincibles obtained by Campus Reform.
Young Invincibles does not explain how it concluded that the average cost of a year of coverage for “an uninsured young person” is $1,200 per year.
This rosy figure appears to be improbably low.
In Michigan, for example, an unmarried 25-year-old person with a decent job seeking “bronze”-level health insurance can expect to pay about $197 per month. Such a person could pay for low-level health coverage for just six months by winning the raffle.
In Oregon, catastrophic-care insurance with an annual deductible of $6,350 costs just over $128 per month for a 25-year-old. Meanwhile, a plan with a more reasonable $2,500 deductible costs the same person $210 per month.
Once the March 31 deadline passes, the IRS will begin to punish uninsured people by collecting fines of $95 for each uninsured adult and $47.50 per child. The maximum fine per family is $285 per family.
Importantly, however, there is an alternate fine of one percent of income. The IRS will take whichever amount is greater.
Thus, for a Young Invincible between the ages of 18 and 34 who is unmarried and bringing home a fairly decent $50,000 annual salary, the Obamacare fine will be $500—the equivalent of about two months of health insurance in Michigan or four months of catastrophic healthcare coverage in Oregon.
In California, the average Obamacare policy for an individual regardless of age is $273 per month, according to the Los Angeles Times. In Alaska, individuals of all ages can expect to pay a whopping $496 a month. Obamacare policies for typical families in New Jersey are going for $1,004 per month.
These figures don’t include a convoluted set of subsidies which can bring out-of-pocket prices down for certain applicants.
The executive director of Young Invincibles, Aaron Smith, says the group is doing everything it can – with $1,200 – to convince people in the 18- to 34-year-old cohort to enroll.
“It’s go time,” Smith implored in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to get the word out about the law’s financial assistance and the March 31st deadline to get covered.”