Home / Blog / Article




October 26 2016

Aetna's CEO: Young People Would Rather Buy Beer Than Health Insurance

Charlotte Allen

Remember "Brosurance"?

Heh-heh. Call it "O-Beer-o-Care."

Even the healthiest bros need health insurance.

That's the message of a new social media campaign that uses keg stands and Club Med to persuade young men to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Or, as one ad calls it: "Brosurance."

"Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier," it says next to a photo of three hard-partying guys, described as "bros for life."

"The feedback, especially on Twitter, has been kind of off the charts, and I think we are surprised to see the Brosurance ad take off quite as much as it did," said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), which helped create the ads.

The "got insurance?" campaign is an irreverent spoof of the iconic "got milk?" ads. It's a collaboration between CCHI and ProgressNow Colorado Education, two nonprofit advocacy groups involved in promoting enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

That was 2013. But now it's 2016, and let's see what's happened over the past three years to the hard-partying bros for life.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Healthier people will avoid buying Affordable Care Act health insurance plans as premiums climb, threatening the stability of the market, Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said.

"As the rates rise, the healthier people pull out because the out-of-pocket costs aren't worth it," Bertolini said at Bloomberg's The Year Ahead Summit in New York. "Young people can do the math. Gas for the car, beer on Fridays and Saturdays, health insurance."

Beer vs. health insurance?

Premiums for health plans sold to individuals under the ACA, known as Obamacare, are going up by about 25 percent on average for next year. Bertolini said that as costs rise, more individuals will decide not to buy health plans. That'll push premiums even higher, unless a new president and lawmakers can find fixes for the new markets created by the 2010 health law.

"What happens is the population gets sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker," Bertolini said. "The rates keep rising to try and catch it. It's a fruitless chase, and ultimately you end up with a very bad pool of risk."

It gets worse:

Insurer Aetna itself is largely ending sales of ACA plans, because it's recording hundreds of millions of dollars of losses on the policies. The insurer will offer individual coverage on the ACA's exchanges in four states for next year, down from 15.

I think the bros are saying: I'd rather do a keg stand on top of Mt. Everest than shell out $4,815 next year for health insurance that I'll probably never use actuarily because I'm only 27.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
Follow us