Can Seattle musicians get ‘Young Invincibles’ to think insurance?

First it was Chris Walla, guitarist for popular Seattle indie-rock group Death Cab for Cutie. He joined Washington Healthplanfinder at the UW-Seattle campus last week to talk to students about the importance of health insurance.

This week, two more bands will tell their fans — get covered! They’re performing Thursday at a Health Insurance dance-party, at the Capitol Hill nightclub, Chop Suey.

Whatever it takes? It’s not just about lending their celebrity. Walla also hopes sharing his personal enrollment story with fans would help Washington Healthplanfinder connect with these otherwise hard-to-reach “young invincibles” and encourage them to get covered.

Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, left, talks to UW students about health insurance at WA Healthplanfinder's on-campus enrollment event

Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, left, talks to UW students about health insurance at WA Healthplanfinder’s on-campus enrollment event

Uninsured young adults (nationally, it’s one out of three, according to research by the Urban Institute) are particularly difficult to enroll because they’re typically in good health and don’t think coverage is necessary. In fact, 43% of all uninsured Washington residents are between ages 19 and 34.

But Walla says assuming good health is a big mistake. He learned the hard way. He was uninsured three years ago when an unexpected trip to the hospital slammed him with $10,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills.

“If you’re not sick now, you might be one day,” he said. “It’s an investment for the future.”

Walla contacted Washington Healthplanfinder to see how he could help with outreach efforts after he used the service to enroll himself in a new insurance plan.

According to Walla, right now is the perfect opportunity for young people to learn about their health care options — even for those lucky enough to still be on their parents’ plan, or enrolled in insurance through their university.

“That’s great, but it won’t last forever,” he said. “It’s important for [young people] to educate themselves now.”

Walla happily shared his story with students and reporters for several hours, answering questions and posing for pictures with fans at Washington Healthplanfinder’s “Don’t Risk It!”  photobooth.

“It’s as easy as buying a toaster on Amazon,” he told one student about the enrollment process. “It’s not rocket science!”

The event, which also included enrollment assistance and educational activities, was part of Washington Healthplanfinder’s mobile tour traveling across the state this month.

Those who missed the enrollment trailer’s on-campus stop, but still want in-person help, are encouraged to text “KING” plus their zip-code to 468311 to get updates about future opportunities in their neighborhoods.

On Thursday, Nov. 21, Seattle rock band Hey Marseilles will follow in Walla’s footsteps and help promote the Affordable Care Act with a Stranger-sponsored health care enrollment concert in Capitol Hill. Enrollment events like these — featuring musical performances, celebrity appearances and other fun activities — will help attract young Seattleites who might not take interest in regular information sessions held at libraries and town halls.

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