Millennials. Generation Y. Echo Boomers. There are many names to describe one of the most uninsured groups in the U.S.
Jodi Ray, the USF College of Public Health’s program director of Florida Covering Kids & Families, was personally invited by the White House and the Young Invincibles to attend the Youth Digital Engagement Summit in Washington D.C. in October.
A recent summit, co-hosted by the White House, Young Invincibles—a non-profit organization responsible for educating young adults about health care, and the Department of Health and Human Services, highlighted best practices for using digital and social media to engage young adults about health care coverage.
Leaders from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat provided insight and tactics on each of their respective platforms to engage young adults, a group Ray says is difficult to reach.
“It starts with this idea of not understanding why it’s important that they [young adults] have health insurance,” Ray said.
At the summit, Ray was presented with the benefits of social media engagement, as 85 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds utilize smartphones and 94 percent trust getting their information through social media.
“It was a really intensive day, but it was a full day of concentrated, important information and it was so helpful,” Ray said. “This was an opportunity to learn how some of these social media tools can be used in a way I think we haven’t been using them before, so for me it was a learning experience.”
Florida Covering Kids & Families is a program of the USF College of Public Health’s Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies under the Department of Community and Family Health.
Florida Covering Kids & Families works collaboratively with agencies across the state to conduct outreach for health care coverage enrollment. Navigators provide assistance to enroll individuals and families in the federal health insurance marketplace. The current $5.9 million 2016 Navigator grant Ray oversees is the largest Navigator grant in the country and in Florida.
Google also hosted a luncheon during the afternoon session of the summit.
As a result, Ray is now currently working with Google to establish a web-based training for the entire Florida Covering Kids & Families navigator team, informing them of tactics to maximize outreach efforts through Google resources.
She also plans to coordinate trainings with Facebook.
“I’m excited to see if we can move the needle on ramping up our 18 to 34 [year-old] enrollments and some of our harder to reach populations,” she said. “We do have a pretty extensive digital marketing campaign we’re going to be doing this year, and we’re working with several partners to reach out during this open enrollment period to some harder to engage populations.”
The open enrollment period for 2016 coverage began November 1 and will end January 31. After that date, the uninsured will be fined $695 or 2.5 percent of annual income, whichever is higher, Ray said.
Ray said young adults are the slowest to enroll, but hopes that increased digital engagement will assist in reaching them.
“One of the things we need to do is reach some of these folks that aren’t always reached through traditional mass media,” Ray said. “If we want to get them to pay attention, we have to get them where they are. They are not sitting in front of desktops.”
To learn more about getting enrolled in coverage for 2016, visit the Florida Covering Kids & Families website to speak with a USF navigator.
USF students may also ask questions, get more information about Healthcare.gov plan options and enroll on the spot with navigators in person at these upcoming Nav-Lab events:
- Nov. 10 , Time TBA, USF Manatee/Sarasota Campus
- Nov. 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., USF Tampa Student Health Services
- Dec. 1, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., USF Tampa Marshall Student Center
- Jan. 11, Time TBA, USF Manatee/Sarasota Campus
- Jan. 13, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., USF Tampa Student Health Services
- Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 pm , USF St. Petersburg
- Jan. 27, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., USF Tampa Marshall Student Center
Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health. Photos courtesy of Jodi Ray.
Tags: Department of Community and Family Health, Facebook, Florida Covering Kids & Families, Google, health care, Jodi Ray, Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, millennials, navigators, Snapchat, social media, Twitter, White House