You heard it from Shaq himself: on Monday, December 12, the White House will host a competitive gaming event to help people sign up for health care coverage at HealthCare.gov. Tune in to twitch.tv/GetCovered to join in!
Millions of Americans participate in eSports (that’s Electronic Sports, or competitive video games) to connect with friends, to challenge themselves, to root for their favorite eSports team, and to be part of a rapidly growing community. In fact, more people now watch major eSports competitions than the number of people who watch the NBA finals or World Series.
As eSports grow in popularity and become increasingly mainstream, gamers are increasing in numbers and diversity. About 77 percent of men between ages 18-29 say that they play games, and so do 57 percent of women in the same age group.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 20 million Americans now know the peace of mind and financial security of having health insurance. Young adults had the highest uninsured rates before the Affordable Care Act and have seen the sharpest drop in uninsured rates since 2010. But millions of millennials remain uninsured, and many of those uninsured young adults could qualify for tax credits on the Health Insurance Marketplace to keep insurance affordable. In fact, most HealthCare.gov consumers can find a plan for under $75 a month, less than their cell phone bill.
Gamers, like everyone, deserve high-quality health care coverage. Engaging the expanding gamer community is part of the Administration’s effort to meet people where they are to help them find a health care plan that’s best for them. That’s why last year, many from the eSports industry, including ESL, Twitch.tv and GEER, helped launch an initiative to encourage more gamers to sign up for health care at HealthCare.gov. And this year, HHS has forged innovative partnerships with digital platforms to help young adults understand that quality, affordable health care is within reach.
I know the power of video games first hand, and how incredible the gaming community can be. In high school, I had severe health challenges that led to hospitalization (and fortunately my care was covered as a dependent under my parent’s plan). During my recovery after the hospital, I helped lead a guild in the popular multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. Playing the game was empowering; it gave me a community where I could be myself, and I met players who became lasting friends, like Aceris the Druid, who’s also a librarian in Boston, or Chyra the Healer, who’s also a Maker in Michigan.
And we also absolutely rekt (humiliatingly defeated) our opponents in PvP (Player versus Player). The competitions brought us together, helped make our group a family, and made us part of a community. We looked out for each other. Gamers have other gamers’ backs FTW (For the Win).
So join us and members of the gaming community for a live-streamed event at twitch.tv/GetCovered on Monday, December 12, and help your fellow gamers #GetCovered at HealthCare.gov.
Erik Martin is a Policy Advisor for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.