The young and the restlessly healthy: Why health insurance open enrollment matters for Michiganders

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Nov. 1, 2015 marked the beginning of Open Enrollment into health insurance on the new online Health Insurance Marketplace under President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

As young adults, it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security in terms of health.  Young and healthy, you feel invincible and immune to all the health problems that older people complain about.  However, the truth of the matter is that adults ages 18 to 34 are susceptible to catastrophic accidents from activities such as sports and car accidents.  Without adequate health insurance, this can lead to significant financial burden and possible medical bankruptcy from significantly high medical costs.

The ACA provides a great opportunity for young adults to obtain necessary and affordable health coverage to safeguard against these catastrophic, unpredictable events.  You can choose from dozens of plans at four price points on the online Health Insurance Marketplace.  Depending on your income, you can qualify for financial assistance that can help reduce the cost of your chosen health insurance plan. The lower your income, the more assistance you receive! For those under 26, you can still be covered under their parents’ health plans. Lots of FREE local help is available you enroll and understand the differences between plans. Visit to see a list of local organizations that can help, including some right near campus!

It also pays to have health insurance. Since everyone is required to have health insurance, those who do not will be fined. The fine is calculated to be either 2.5 percent of your income, or $695, whichever is higher.

No one – young, old, rich, or poor – should be hindered from living their healthiest life due to fear of getting sick. Similarly, no one should be barred from continuing to live their life due to high medical costs and medical debt.

Get covered today!  Open enrollment will continue until Jan. 31, 2016.  For more information, visit For a list of local enrollment help, visit


Washtenaw Health Plan/Healthcare Counts

The Washtenaw Health Plan works directly with people to assess their eligibility for health coverage and to secure coverage. Visit or call 734-544-3030. Walk in for help Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spanish-speaking and Arabic-speaking staff members available. WHP is located the Washtenaw County Human Services building at 555 Towner Street, Ypsilanti.


Washtenaw Health Initiative

The Washtenaw Health Initiative is a voluntary, countywide collaboration focused on how to improve access to coordinated care for the low-income, uninsured and Medicaid populations. The effort includes representatives from the University of Michigan Health System, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, health plans, county government, community services, physicians and safety net providers. More than 70 organizations and 170 individuals participate. Visit or call 734-998-7567.


Carrie Rheingans
Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation



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