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Happy Hour Checklist: Beer, March Madness, and Obamacare Happy Hour Checklist: Beer, March Madness, and Obamacare

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Happy Hour Checklist: Beer, March Madness, and Obamacare

The D.C. health exchange is encouraging young people to enroll in health coverage … while filling out their brackets.


D.C. Health Link wants to enroll young basketball fans in Obamacare.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

With less than two weeks remaining in Obamacare's open-enrollment period, there's a mad dash to catch the attention of young people by whatever means possible.

In Washington, that means happy hour.


The District's health exchange, D.C. Health Link, is employing some of young people's favorite spring pastimes to encourage them to enroll in health insurance ahead of the March 31 deadline: March Madness and post-work drinking.

The exchange is holding a happy hour event at a local bar today that encourages young people to "fill in your brackets, fill out your enrollment application."

D.C. Health Link-certified assisters and licensed brokers will be on site at Bar 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. today to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act and help consumers enroll in coverage, according to a press release from the D.C. exchange. Individuals will be able to find out if they qualify for financial assistance from Medicaid or federal subsidies on the marketplace.


The event is part of a larger push across the country to get young people enrolled before the end of the month. Since health status is not recorded on insurance applications through the ACA, age is the closest correlate to measure the health status of those enrolled. Healthy enrollees are needed to balance out the higher costs of older, sicker individuals and prevent premiums from increasing.

The White House has set a target of 40 percent for young-adult enrollment overall to make the risk pools sustainable. Individuals in the coveted 18-to-35 age bracket currently make up 25 percent of those enrolled nationwide.

This demographic comprises 45 percent of the D.C. exchange—the highest of portion of any state. The 18-to-35 age group makes up around one-third of the city's total population, compared with slightly over 20 percent nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

D.C. Health Link did not immediately respond to inquiries of how it is getting the word out or whether other similar events are planned.


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