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Obamacare blitz woos the young with star power

Jennifer Hudson was able to win an Oscar—but can she win over young adults for Obamacare?

Obamacare advocates on Thursday set off a social media blitz to push young adults to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, using celebrities, humorous skits and social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine to spread the word.

A six-hour-long, live-streamed variety show event and blogathon at is the centerpiece of the youth-oriented campaign, which comes days after Obamacare enrollment data showed a big gap between the sign-up rate for young adults and the target set by federal officials.

"Using social media to reach younger people has always been part of the plan," said Peter Lee, head of the state of California's Obamacare exchange, Covered California, which is a main backer of the "Tell a Friend—Get Covered" event. "We've doubled down on this initiative."

(Read more: Wanted: Young Obamacare enrollees)

Getting young adults enrolled in Obamacare is particularly important because of the need to have enough healthy customers paying for insurance plans to balance out the cost of paying out benefits for sicker enrollees.

So far only about 24 percent of the 2.2 million Obamacare enrollees nationally are 18 to 34 years old, compared to the 40 percent officials are aiming for by the March 31 open enrollment deadline. Officials said they expect the enrollment rate to significantly improve by the deadline.


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