It is the final countdown for those Americans not yet covered by health insurance. Whether you are insured by a private provider through your employer or you get covered by the government under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” the last day to enroll without being penalized on your tax return is March 31.

 

In an effort to boost the not-so-favorable enrollment numbers, President Barack Obama has been sitting down for interviews to gain more positive momentum and clear up the facts surrounding ACA. Registration surged ahead in February with an additional 940,000 new applicants, bringing the total enrollment number to 4.2 million Americans covered by ACA. However, this falls short of the 7 million enrollment goal.

 

 

President Barack Obama in an interview with Zach Galifianakis on "Between Two Ferns" internet show. (funnyordie.com)

President Barack Obama in an interview with Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns” internet show. (funnyordie.com)

Comedian Zach Galifianakis interviewed President Obama on his internet show, “Between Two Ferns,” and the video went viral almost immediately after it was published on March 11. The ACA enrollment numbers for the crucial age bracket for ACA to function properly — adults between the ages of 18 and 34 — are falling well below the target range at only 25 percent of the total enrollment. Therefore, it is easy to understand why President Obama would choose to partake in the satirical interview given the age group who frequent the show online. Galifianakis’ interview show is notorious for its farcical structure, and President Obama definitely stole the show. One of his greatest strengths in reaching the youth audience is his sense of humor, and he uses it to his advantage here.

 

In an attempt to reach an audience with real concerns, President Obama also sat down with health journalist and author, Lisa Zamosky, for a WebMD interview featuring questions submitted by the WebMD community. The question that seemed to weigh the heaviest on the minds of the American people was regarding the concern of what to do if the insurance is still too expensive for them to afford. President Obama answered that rates vary depending on one’s income as well as a host of other factors; The only real way to know what someone might pay out monthly for coverage would be to check out the Healthcare Marketplace. President Obama went on to say that there are plans for $100 or less. “It may end up costing less than your cable bill or your cell phone bill,” he said.

 

The controversy over health care costs has become a huge political conversation.

The controversy over health care costs has become a huge political conversation.

Referencing the youth demographic again, President Obama followed up with an explanation for why it is so important for young people to get covered; He explained that health insurance not only protects you when you need to see a doctor or get your prescriptions at a reasonable price, but it also offers preventative care, such as routine mammograms and flu shots. The best part? It may end up costing a young person as little as $50 per month for a “good, solid coverage.”

 

For those Americans who can not afford insurance from the Healthcare Marketplace, they may qualify for financial aid or Medicaid. President Obama explained that if coverage is still completely unaffordable, there are hardship exemptions to the law; This means that those with extreme economic hardships will not be penalized for not being covered. Of the current enrollment numbers, 83 percent are eligible for financial assistance. This penalty is set up for those who can afford insurance and choose not to get covered because “they are relying on you and me and others who are paying our insurance premiums to subsidize them when they go to the emergency room,” President Obama said. The fine for not being covered by the deadline of March 31 will be $95 or one percent of total income, whichever is greater, and will be deducted from federal tax refunds.

 

Have you signed up for health insurance yet? What are your thoughts on the Affordable Care Act? Let’s talk coverage in the comments, or you can find me on Twitter @TiffaniJPurdy.