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Young adults still slow to sign up for Obamacare

Young adults still slow to sign up for Obamacare

Administration officials released demographic information Monday for those who have signed up for Obamacare.  While the overall signup numbers are increasing, it’s largely been older customers signing up so far.

From the Wall Street Journal:

More than half of those signing up for private health plans on new insurance exchanges are 45 or older, the Obama administration said Monday, a sign that the rough rollout of the exchanges may have skewed early enrollment.

In all, nearly 2.2 million people across the country signed up for individual coverage through Dec. 28, with a significant uptick in December after anemic numbers in October and November as consumers battled through technical problems.

With the worst of those problems largely resolved at the federal website, attention is now shifting to the demographics of the new enrollees, which is likely to determine the long-term impact of the law.

At the heart of the health overhaul law is a change in the way insurance is priced. Consumers no longer pay premiums based on their health risks, and health plans are limited in how much they can vary prices based on age. To keep prices in check in the new market, carriers say they need strong enrollment from younger people who are likely to be healthier, to balance out the bills that could be racked up by sicker and older people. If that doesn’t happen, prices will likely spike sharply in subsequent years, actuaries say.

Across the country, some 33% of the nearly 2.2 million people who signed up were between the ages of 55 and 64, and an additional 22% were between 45 and 54, according to nationwide data compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services. The federal government is running insurance exchanges on behalf of 36 states, while 14 states and the District of Columbia are operating their own exchanges.

For young adults between the ages of 18-34, the numbers to date lag behind the 40% that health industry experts have suggested is necessary to help keep costs under control.

From ABC News:

From Oct. 1 through Dec. 28, nearly a quarter of the nearly 2.2 million individuals who selected a health care plan through the state and federal exchanges were between the ages of 18 and 34, Health and Human Services said. Health industry experts have estimated that around 40 percent of enrollees must be young adults for the president’s signature health care plan to keep premiums in check.

In the District of Columbia, 44 percent of individuals who selected health care plans were between the ages of 18 and 34, but no state reached the 40 percent figure for youth sign-ups. Arizona, Arkansas, Maine, New Mexico and West Virginia were among the states with the lowest percentage of young people  – between 17 and 18 percent – signing up for health care.

Another issue of course is that we still don’t have definitive numbers pertaining to how many have made payments on their premiums.  The administration did not provide information on that statistic, among others, according to the NY Times.

Federal officials do not know how many of the people selecting plans were previously uninsured, how many were African-American or Hispanic, or how many have paid premiums. Consumers are required to pay their share before coverage takes effect.

The new year seems to be beginning with more uncertainty as we wait to see how the numbers work out over the next several months and into the following years.


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Gee, that new math is getting the better of the brainless individuals who designed this stupid plan.

Henry Hawkins | January 13, 2014 at 9:59 pm

1) It is reasonable, prudent even, to doubt Obamacare statistics emitting from the government. There are rumors that they sometimes fib about Obamacare details. (/sarc).

2) Accurate or not, the number of enrollees is irrelevant. How many have paid the premium is the only number that matters.

3) Moreover, how many will continue to pay once the premiums start skyrocketing.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Meant to add… I’m an Obamacare enrollee. I enrolled just to experience the process and to see how they’d follow through. At no point did I intend to pay.

      I’m also enrolled as Bruce Wayne (gold), Peter Parker (silver) and Hal Jordan (bronze). Working in the health industry, it would be unethical to just toss folks into a plan without knowing what kind of deductible and copay someone would have coming.

      Everyone knew this was nothing but a redistribution of wealth. Those that can afford good insurance pay extra to cover those that don’t… only the extra it is coming out of the pockets of the haves with crappy coverage for all. Nobody expects the have-not’s to pay their bill anyway.

      sad but true. my insurance went from a $300 deductible, 90% covered with a $2k out of pocket max last year to paying a higher premium for a $500 deductible with 80% covered to a $3.5k out of pocket. Four years from now it will be $1.2k deductible with 50% covered to a 6 or 7k out of pocket max.

      if things don’t change in a hurry, 1 in 3 hospitals will close in the next 10 years and healthcare will be something that only the truly rich can afford without months of wait.

        JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to aerily. | January 13, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        “Everyone knew this was nothing but a redistribution of wealth.”
        I’m embarrassed and a bit ashamed to say that I didn’t know.
        Suddenly, when no one was signing up, there was a spate of articles about how the racist white people were not signing up in order to protest the wealth spreading. As the facts dribbled out, it became clear how MUCH of a redistribution this whole thing is. But even up to the end, that was not at all clear to me…nor, anyone of the white, middle class, middle aged, employed people that I know.

    That would seemingly be dishonest.

Single payer is the end goal.

The “unintended” consequences of allowing people under 26 to stay on the ‘rents plan.

    Voyager in reply to genes. | January 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    It actually goes beyond that. If you have a full time job, you almost certainly already had health insurance through your employer, even if it’s not something you actually thought to hard on.

    The people that don’t have a full time job, or are under 26 simply don’t have the money to buy health insurance.

    It was all dependent on raiding a pool of money that never existed in the first place.

I thought they needed 7 million? Maybe this is common core math.

    JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to Roux. | January 13, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Yeah, weren’t 3 to 5 million policies cancelled?

    There still has not been a concerted effort, afaik, to add up the numbers and figure out if ObamaCare was a net plus or a net minus to the number of people with health care insurance.

    My guess is that media will studiously look in some other direction to avoid discussing this issue. Perhaps in the direction of New Jersey bridges, ya know what I mean?

      If it was a net plus the’d be tooting their own horn day and night.
      Obamacare is SNAFU and they know it, but they’re hoping you’ll stay in the dark.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | January 13, 2014 at 10:35 pm

There’ve been several articles on the “2.2 million” number. An earlier WSJ article quoted informed individuals as guessing the actual number of paid-up people at about half that number.

Perhaps the ratio is higher now.
But for sure, don’t take it at face value.

Older people are such a pain… wait, does that mean me?

Obamacare is….

Step One: “Hey you, responsible person over there with a job, cough it up, mother f*cker.”

Step Two: “Hey poor fool, here ya go, got some Benjamins for ya, free of charge, didn’t cost nuthin’. Just remember this come election day, ya hear?”

This isn’t taking pennies via taxes from 90% to give to a needful 10%. This is stealing thousands – per year! – from 30% to give away to a different 30%, less than half of which are at all that needy of help. Guess which 30% is more likely to vote GOP and which 30% more likely to vote Democrat? Pure armed robbery.

Regarding the need for “young healthies”, unless I’m missing something those young ‘uns also have to pay full freight, if they’re getting subsidies to buy insurance they’re not subsidizing anyone else. The segment they really need to sign up are “young, healthy and successful”.

Clearly, the tax penalty is insufficient. Failure to buy a government-approved insurance plan from a government-approved vendor must be criminalized.

You still can’t tell much from the numbers, they are absolutely meaningless. It sounds horrible, but we don’t know how horrible. If the premiums skew like I think they will skew along wealth / age lines, then this is really a lot worse than anyone thought. Especially if the all the new people are all the sickest patients.

No one wants to think about the economic shake out of this fiasco. When this much money is sucked out of the economy (premiums, deductibles, co-pays, cash paid out on out of network medical treatment, etc) it comes out of the consumers pocket that would have been spent on something else. It is usually discretionary spending (entertainment, travel, non essential consumer goods, etc) that takes the hit which was obvious in the Christmas retail numbers and the awful jobs numbers. But this economy busting robbery is going to affect everything including real estate, auto sales, home furnishings, home appliances and electronics, etc. Literally everything will see cutbacks by consumers who try to economize to cover the bills imposed by Obamacare. When premiums and pro-rated deductibles are as much as a house payment you are going to see downsizing, huge cutbacks in travel and entertainment, and every other type of frugal behavior to try to make ends meet. This is a rolling economic disaster added to a weak and limping economy which will fall into a loop of collapse. It started in earnest in December and will only accelerate.

“In the District of Columbia, 44 percent of individuals who selected health care plans were between the ages of 18 and 34”

Aaaah… I don’t believe that number is right. 44 percent? Show me your math. Maybe if the total enrollment is low, like 50 people total.

    JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to Fen. | January 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Yeah, agree, sounds fishy. This is a tricky area. Case in point: here’s an analysis of CA numbers by Taranto via InstaPundit.
    Note how the triumph becomes abject failure under further inspection.
    “…we looked at enrollment figures from California, supposedly ObamaCare’s great success story. The Golden State was boasting that 22.5% of its enrollees were between 18 and 34, slightly higher than that age cohort’s 21% of the state population. But the proper denominator to use wasn’t the total population but the nonelderly adult (18 to 64) population, since the elderly are covered by Medicare and many children by Medicaid.
    The young cohort makes up 33.8% of California’s nonelderly adult population but, at the time we wrote, only 23.8% of nonelderly adult ObamaCare enrollees.”

    malclave in reply to Fen. | January 15, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Well, it’s DC… how many Congressional staffers have to use the exchange for their health insurance (even if they do get extra subsidies not availabel to honest Americans) and what is their age demographic?

Exactly what demographic are they expecting to beat a trail to the door??????

Most of the un-insured actively chose to not be insured… and that was when you could get the catastrophic stuff at a reasonable price. Now that the policies are crappier and more expensive…exactly WHAT demographic are they anticipating will suddenly show up? The FREE STUFF people already got theirs.

The number of “pre-existing condition people was maybe a million (generously). So who are these mysterious victims of the insurance industry who are going to come clamoring to the door?

The only way they get enrollees is by forcing millions of people who were previously happy with their plans onto crappy government plans.

The Five ‘yootful chicklets with the booze and screwdriver above are posing for their Hillary Voters Photo on their I-Thingies.

Is America not Blessed,’Yo?