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Push to get young people enrolled in Obamacare didn’t work, navigators say

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- While many people are trying to log on to the government website healthcare.gov Tuesday come to find out they missed the deadline to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, some people elected to not purchase insurance and instead pay the penalty.

For Americas younger population, many people said they didnt even check out the online marketplace and simply decided they don't want to spend their money on health coverage.
 
Im uninsured right now, said Juan Aguirre, a student at the University of Texas at El Paso.
 
Aguirre said while he would like to get health coverage one day, he isnt worried about being uninsured right now.
 
Im not one of those people who are sick prone, said Aguirre.
 
In order for the program to work properly, though, officials at the White House said theyre counting on young people to sign up. According to the U.S. Department of Health, as of last month only 24 percent of enrollees were between 18 and 34 years old.
 
According to the White House, a breakdown of the more than $7 million people who have signed up by the March 31 deadline is not yet available.
 
Younger El Pasoans said they feel they are less likely to get sick and dont want to spend the money on coverage when this years penalty of $95 or 1 percent of someones household income is cheaper than the insurance plans in the long run.
 
Navigators said it wont always be the case, though.
 
Thats going to go up if they don't have the insurance the following year to $325 or 2 percent of their family income, said Roy Ortega, with Project Amistad in east El Paso.
 
Ortega said if someone doesnt get coverage by the third year, the penalty increases once again to $695 or 2.5 percent of their household income. 
 
We try to encourage (young people) to go out and find some good insurance plan for themselves anyway because life is crazy. You never know what's going to happen. You could get sick or get into an accident or something, said Ortega.
 
People who want insurance but didnt enroll by the March 31 deadline will have to wait until November when the online marketplace opens once again. However, if someone loses their current policy, or their job, they will be able to apply for a special case policy.
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