Seve Gaskin, student project manager for Get Covered Carolina, said the number of people enrolling is not as high as the organization expected.
Get Covered Carolina, a partnership between various health organizations at UNC, enrolls people in the community in health care through the ACA.
“I would presume that’s because most people go to UNC-Chapel Hill, and they have other avenues to access insurance,” Gaskin said.
Students interviewed said they opted to stay on their parents’ insurance plans. The law allows young people to stay on their families’ plans until age 26.
“It’s less expensive, and it’s easier than the effort that it would take to get my own plan,” said Chris McGrath, a junior at UNC.
Van der Horst said many young people don’t think about the need for opting into insurance now.
“It’s like why young people don’t use condoms,” he said. “There’s lots of things — they don’t do things to plan for their futures.”
Gaskin said Get Covered Carolina is working to reach more people and is holding an enrollment event at the UNC Family Medicine Center on Saturday to sign people up for health care.
But Generation Opportunity, a youth-led organization, is encouraging young people to opt out . And the conservative Americans for Prosperity launched a campaign to exempt people from the law’s mandate to sign up for health care.
People without health care will be fined either 1 percent of their yearly household income or $95 per person for the year — whichever is higher.
Wilson Parker, president of the UNC Young Democrats, said enrollment numbers for young people in the state are similar to the numbers in Massachusetts in 2006, when the state reformed its health care laws.
Van der Horst said he expects more young people to enroll just before the March 31 deadline, which is what happened in Massachusetts.
Still, Donald Bryson, policy specialist for the state branch of Americans for Prosperity, said the numbers show that young people don’t want to sign up for expensive plans, and he doesn’t think the numbers will increase.
“They need a lot more young people to subsidize everyone,” Bryson said. “I think they will fall short of the numbers they need.”