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Young adults are faced with risky decision to get health insurance

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11 2013 5:25 p.m. MST

Individual and family plans are available online at www.healthcare.gov, which Stevenson said has had "marked improvement in success rates and efficiency" since updates were made to the site prior to December.

Take Care Utah has waited to launch its new social media ad campaign until after the federal health insurance marketplace website was working better, he said. "We didn't want to send people to a website that wasn't working."

The ads can be found online, by following Take Care Utah, or its partner organizations, on Twitter or Facebook. The Utah Health Policy Project and its partnering agencies receive federal grant money to fund enrollment growth in Utah, but the "What's More Risky?" ad campaign was funded with less than $1,000 in private funds.

Stevenson forecasts that young, "tech-savvy" people will make it through the online enrollment process fairly smoothly, but help is available in the form of local navigators and certified application counselors, who can be located through a service at www.takecareutah.org.

Gold said he'll look into his options, which he understands may be less expensive and more plentiful than he originally thought. But he's not promising he'll "do the responsible thing" and enroll.

"I have a pretty stress-free life," he said, adding that he "pretty much wings it from morning to night, every single day."

"I spend hardly any time thinking about health insurance," Gold said.

He admits, however, that if his employer hadn't picked up the bill for a broken leg that happened on the job last year, he'd be "racked up with bills right now."

"There's no way I could handle that," he said.

And that's exactly why Take Care Utah wants to help young people like Gold get enrolled in a plan.

The nonprofit organization offers education and enrollment services free of charge as part of its efforts to help Utahns connect to affordable health insurance.

"After all, a broken bone will heal faster than a credit score wrecked by medical bankruptcy," Stevenson said.

Email: wleonard@deseretnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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