SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — Young people are about to be bombarded with messages about Obamacare.

Health care analysts say the government plans to spend tens of millions of dollars informing millennials that come January 1, 2014, they’ll need to have some kind of health care coverage, or will face a fine.

“I think the pitch is mainly going to be positive,” said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Levitt says for Obamacare to succeed, it’s critical young adults comply with the Individual Mandate. “If we don’t reach these young people, it’s going to mean that premiums are going to start to rise, so everyone will pay more,” Levitt told Consumerwatch.

Dana Howard of Covered California, California’s state-run insurance marketplace, admits it may be challenging to get young, healthy people on board, “but we believe that it’s totally doable.” He says a massive advertising push is in the works to spread the message. “What we’re going to be doing is tried and true methods of effective marketing,” Howard explained.

Howard says the campaign will include using sports teams, social media and messages aimed at mothers.

Why mothers? “If your mom calls you up and says ‘I think it’s important you should have insurance’ that could be a pretty strong motivator,” Levitt explained.

The campaign will also include scenarios intended to resonate with young people. For example, “If I go out snowboarding and bust a knee, there is going to be a real hospital to go to and get real coverage for it,” Howard told ConsumerWatch.

There will also be the message that a large percentage of young people who buy insurance through state-run marketplaces will qualify for financial assistance. According to one estimate by the Urban Institute, 96% of 21-to-27 year olds will get financial help in the form of tax credits.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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