Del. Starting Push to Get People to Enroll for Health Insurance - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Starting Push to Get People to Enroll for Health Insurance

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Get health insurance or pay a penalty is a decision facing millions of Americans in the coming months. And Delaware is starting a big push to persuade people to get it.

Beginning October 1, Delawareans who want to sign up for insurance will be able to do that through the state's new health insurance marketplace. A state marketing campaign aims to ensure "health insurance marketplace" is a phrase you will hear and see a lot in between now and then.

The people running the campaign know this part of Obamacare, the enrollment process, seems extremely complicated to the average person.

So, the state wants to both convince people to enroll and explain how to.

Jim Grant, with the health insurance marketplace, says getting the word out about the marketplace is a multi-pronged attack.

"Radio, television, print, billboards, social media and a grassroots campaign," he said.

There will be messages directed at two age groups. The first is 18 to 29 year olds. Alex

Parkowski, with AB+C, a Wilmington-based marketing firm, says young adults often have this mind set.

"They're not going to need health coverage. Nothing is going to happen to them."

So, there are ads to specifically address that.

"The challenge there is to persuade them of the benefit of being insured," Grant said. "You're only one incident, accident away from facing a lot of out of pocket costs if you don't have insurance."

Ads for the 30 to 64 crowd will explain things like that pre-exisiting conditions no longer disqualify you from insurance.

While the state pushes people to sign up, some say it's not a good idea for everyone. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Casscells, with the conservative Caesar Rodney Institute, says he's advised some people, like one relatively health middle aged man, to just pay the government penalty for not having insurance.

"I asked him, 'How much do you spend for health care a year?' He said, 'I spend $200 or $300 a year. That's all I spend.' So, he's much better off paying the fine."

The federal government's health care web site says in 2014 the penalty is one percent of your annual income or $95 dollars, whichever is higher, if you don't have insurance. It gets more expensive in 2016. The fee increases to 2.5 percent of annual income or $695 dollars a year, whichever is more.

For uninsured children it'll cost $47.50 in 2014. The most a family would have to pay for uninsured children in 2014 is $285.

"People do not make grand altruistic decisions," Casscells said. "People make decisions based on their own circumstances."

Grant and Parkowski hope the campaign pushes through that obstacle.

"What we're trying to show is health insurance for all is possible in the state through the health insurance marketplace. We're trying to get Delawareans excited about this program. Come October 1 we want people to be ready to enroll."

Click here to learn more about Delaware's health insurance marketplace.

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