Health Insurance is not a Laughing Matter…Or is it?

Much of the ACA enrollment outreach to young adult “invincibles” has been on the lighter side. Take, for example, the recent Valentine’s Day campaign around national youth enrollment day that featured various celebrities making quips about love and insurance (see the ad featuring Amy Poehler in our February post).  And, months back, we highlighted Colorado’s GotInsurance campaign, which markets health insurance to young adults using “bros,” yoga, and roller derby.

President Obama’s latest education effort has taken an especially comedic turn. The President was a guest on Zach Galifianakis’ Funny or Die web series, “Between Two Ferns,” which is known for its parody of low-budget interview shows and hilariously awkwardly interviews. The video has already gone viral and is trending on twitter. Besides being good for a laugh, the interview turns out to be a decent platform for marketing and the new insurance options under the ACA, particularly to young adults. Earlier this afternoon, White House Senior Communications Advisor Tara McGuinness tweeted that was the #1 source of referrals to

Whether because of the targeted outreach efforts or simply the increased affordability of insurance in the state and federal marketplaces, the rates of uninsured young adults are falling along with those of older adults. According to a recent Gallop poll, the uninsured rate for adults aged 26-34 – likely the primary audience for “Between Two Ferns” - dropped 1.6% points between the end of last year and the first two months of this year. The drop in uninsured was smaller – 0.5% – among 18-25 year-olds, but this group experienced a much more dramatic dip in its uninsurance rate a few years ago. The uninsured rate for these young adults dropped by over 4% in early 2011, when they became eligible to stay on a parent’s insurance plan until age 26. Still, the rates of uninsured young adults remain significantly higher than older populations. Targeted outreach is likely to pick up during these last few weeks of open enrollment.

In the meantime, we have President Obama going out on a limb to pitch the merits of health insurance – of which there are many! – with an unexpected partner in Galifianakis. President Obama’s plug starts at about the halfway point, and one of the best interchanges is at 4:15:

Pres. Obama: “The point is, a lot of young people, they think they’re invincible.”

Galifianakis: “Did you say invisible, because…”

Pres. Obama: “No, no – not invisible. Invincible. Meaning that they don’t think they can get hurt.”

Galifianakis: “I’m just saying that nobody could be invisible…if you had said invisible.”


Good point.




Just a quick note to let you know that due to a larger than expected number of registrations, the location for tomorrow’s Capital District/Northern NY outreach and enrollment summit has been changed. The new location will be:

155 Washington Avenue, between Dove and Lark, Albany, NY
(There is only street parking at this location)

All other details remain the same.  The event will still be taking place this Friday, September 20th from 10 am to 1 pm.  Anybody who has already registered for the event should have gotten a notice of the location change emailed to them already.  If anyone has any questions about the event or the new location, please contact the event coordinators at or

The phone lines are open!

Anybody who signed up for email reminders from the NY State of Health insurance marketplace already knows that as of today the customer service center is officially open!  A notice was sent out this morning letting folks now about it and encouraging people and small businesses to call for information.  Here is the official NY State of Health customer service hotline:


The call center will be open daily from 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday and will have trained representatives available to answer questions for anyone wishing to call.  This is great timing as the marketplace is set to begin enrollments on October 1st and a lot of folks who are learning about it now have questions.  Once the marketplace opens in October, call center hours will be expanded to accommodate people who need to phone in on the weekend.

This is a really exciting development and will be really useful for folks who have questions now or need help preparing for enrollment on October 1st.

Lois Uttley White House LGBT Briefing

Members of HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force at today’s White House Briefing: Barbara Warren, Beth Israel Medical Center’s LGBT Health Services (left), Jonathan Lang, Empire State Pride Agenda (center left), Lois Uttley, Raising Women’s Voices (center), Elisabeth Benjamin, Community Service Society (center right), and Cynthia Nuara, LGBT Community Center (right)

We are ecstatic to share with you some great news: HCFANY’s own Lois Uttley (Raising Women’s Voices) has been asked to present the work of HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force at today’s White House Briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT Community.

Along with Lois, the event will include remarks by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as a presentation of new research on how LGBT communities perceive and access health care, and suggested messaging strategies for reaching key sub-communities.

Tune in now at: