According to Ezra Klein, in the Washington Post, “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has received thousands of comments on preliminary exchange regulations issued this year, which laid some ground rules for what the new marketplace would look like,” Klein writes. “Under the health overhaul, every state will have a new health insurance marketplace called an “exchange,” to launch in 2014. Often described as state-based “Expedias” for health insurance, the exchanges will serve as online hubs for individuals and small businesses to compare and purchase health insurance plans. Low- and middle-income Americans will also be able to use new tax subsidies on the exchange, meant to make health coverage more affordable.”

A small lobbyist group pushing for the rights and interests of young adults called “Young Invincibles” wants to make sure that these exchanges are available to young people too (who use their texting and phones as an integral part of their lives).

They propose the following:

    • Designing A Smartphone Enrollment Application ? States and the federal government should consider developing a smartphone application that allows for easy comparison of and enrollment in health plans sold through the Exchange. Some have suggested that having an application that allows for the full enrollment process is unworkable on a smart phone, but we strongly ventolin nebules generic name recommend that Exchanges explore the possibility further.


    • Mobile Integration ? Even if a smart phone application is not developed, functionality should be created for exchanges to interact with mobile devices through actionable alerts, enrollment status updates, customer support services, and uploading documentation. The UX2014 project has explored some of these ideas and suggests innovative uses.


    • Mobile Outreach ? Policymakers should integrate mobile devices into their outreach campaigns. For example, bus stop signs asking potential Exchange applicants to send basic contact information over text message. The Exchange could then follow up by phone and email. The text4baby campaign is one possible model that has provided health information to over 175,000 pre-natal moms.


  • Social Networking ? Young people and people of color are disproportionately active on social networking sites. Although people of color use government websites less frequently than whites, they are much more likely to value government outreach and distribution of information through social media. Sixty percent of blacks and 52 percent of Latinos think this is important compared to only 41 percent of whites. The data suggests that outreach over social media could be a key way to enroll young people of color in the Exchange.”

The Young Invincibles? argument for a mobile health insurance exchange could easily be applied to most any health-related service.