Members of the American Hospital Association are throwing their weight behind efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get more young adults to use the public health insurance exchange system.

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Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today said hospitals will use a social media toolkit to explain the Affordable Care Act exchange program to young adults during the open enrollment period for 2017 individual major medical coverage.

Hospitals will also use their websites to direct young adults to an ACA exchange enrollment website, CMS officials said.

Insurers, regulators and exchange program managers developed the open enrollment calendar, or limits on when people can sign up for individual major medical coverage without showing they have a good reason for needing coverage, to discourage healthy people from waiting until they get stick to pay for insurance. The open enrollment period for 2017 is set to start Nov. 1 and last until Jan. 31, 2017.

The ACA itself includes an individual shared responsibility provision, or individual mandate provision, that requires many individuals to own “minimum essential coverage,” or what the government classifies as adequate major medical coverage, or else pay a penalty.

Exchange managers believe that many of the remaining uninsured people are young adults.

In addition to working with hospitals to market exchange plans, CMS officials said they will offer the exchange program to:

  • Lyft riders.

  • Families that qualified for exemptions from the individual mandate for 2015.

  • Families that paid individual mandate penalties for 2015.

The Massachusetts exchange has already had good luck with marketing its services to penalty payers, officials said.

Officials said they have also developed better ways to use well-timed emails to get young adults to buy coverage.

Related:

Health exchange advisory panel shuts out commercial insurers

Hospitals feel pain as UnitedHealth eyes PPACA exit door

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