‘The Onion’ helping with healthcare sign up

Feb 10, 2014

A new banner of ads will top "The Onion" website. IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports on the state's latest effort to get young people to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

 "The Onion" is known for its satire.

But this is no joke.

As the Affordable Care Act's March 31 deadline approaches, Illinois officials are trying to get a demographic they call the "Young Invincibles" to sign up.

Getting young, healthy adults to enroll is key -- they make up about half of the state's uninsured residents.  And their participation in insurance plans will help to offset the cost of coverage for older residents, who will presumably have greater health needs.

In a press release, the head of "Get Covered Illinois" says reaching out to them via "The Onion" fits into the state's outreach strategy.  A state spokeswoman says the PR campaign is costing Illinois $150,000, and "The Onion" will match that in ad value.

"The Onion" will create a video and a custom Get Covered Illinois "news" section. But for now visitors to the website will see a banner ad showing a toy, with the faux headline "Man without health insurance is forced to sell action figures to pay medical bills."