Insurance sign-ups skew older, spurring cost concerns

Published on January 15, 2014 at 12:12 AM · No Comments

Halfway through the six-month enrollment period for private insurance under the health care law, just one in four adult enrollees are between ages 18 and 34, the crucial demographic group whose participation rates are key to keeping monthly premiums affordable. Administration officials say they are confident that a greater proportion of young people will enroll by the end of March.

The New York Times: Older Pool of Health Care Enrollees Stirs Fears on Costs
People signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's federal and state marketplaces tend to be older and potentially less healthy, officials said Monday, a demographic mix that could threaten the law's economic underpinnings and cause premiums to rise in the future if the pattern persists (Shear and Pear, 1/13). 

Los Angeles Times: More Than 2.1 Million Sign Up For Obamacare Health Coverage
More than 2.1 million Americans signed up for health insurance in the last three months of 2013 through new online marketplaces created by President Obama's healthcare law as a December surge in enrollment helped the initiative recover from its disastrous launch. But the enrollment numbers -; released in a government report Monday -; lagged behind the Obama administration's target of 3.3 million sign-ups by the end of December (Levey, 1/14). 

Kaiser Health News: Nearly A Quarter Of Health Marketplace Enrollees Are Young Adults
Nearly a quarter of the 2.2 million people who have enrolled in health coverage in the health law's insurance marketplaces are young adults -; the population that's hardest to reach and yet most vital for the financial stability of the new exchanges, the Obama administration announced Monday (Galewitz, 1/13).

The Washington Post: Health-Insurance Sign-Ups By Young Adults Are Off Pace Seen As Key To New Law's Success
Young adults account for slightly less than one-fourth of the Americans who signed up for health plans during the initial three months of federal and state insurance marketplaces -; fewer so far than the government has said will be needed to make the economics of the new exchanges work. The figures, part of a monthly progress report on the marketplaces that was issued Monday, offer the first glimpse into whether the health plans available under the Affordable Care Act are becoming provinces of the old and sick or are managing to attract young, healthy people who have not previously considered insurance worthwhile (Goldstein and Somashkehar, 1/13). 

The Wall Street Journal: Health Sign-Ups Skew Older, Raising Fears Over Costs
One-third of health plan enrollees in new insurance marketplaces are 55 or older, the Obama administration said Monday, a figure that insurers said makes the pool older than they would need to sustain their coverage at current premiums. Administration officials said they are pushing to enroll more young people before a March 31 deadline for most people to get coverage for this year, and some cushions built into the law mean it won't necessarily face trouble right away even if the 2014 pool of enrollees skews older (Radnofsky and Weaver, 1/13).

The Associated Press: Health Care Signups: More Older Americans So Far
Younger people went for President Barack Obama at election time, but will they buy his health insurance? New government figures show it's an older, costlier crowd that's signing up so far for health insurance under Obama's health care law. Enrollments are lower for the healthy, younger Americans who will be needed to keep premiums from rising (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/14).

USA Today: Most Insurance Enrollees Older Than 45, Records Show
More than half of the almost 2.2 million people who bought health insurance on federal and state exchanges in the past three months are older than 45, records released Monday show. If that trend holds, it could skew the health insurance market as older policyholders that use more health care are not balanced by younger policyholders who tend to use less health care. In effect, the younger policyholders subsidize older ones (Kennedy, 1/13).

Politico: Young Adults Make Up One-Fourth Of Obamacare Enrollees
Just under a quarter of Obamacare sign-ups so far have been in the critical 18-to-35-year-old age range, the Obama administration revealed Monday, the first time officials have given demographic data about health plan enrollees. The administration had set a goal of around 38 percent to 40 percent of the enrollees in that age bracket by the time the sign-up season ends March 31 (Cheney and Millman, 1/14).

CBS News: Obamacare Sign-Ups Among Young Adults Off To Slow Start
About one-quarter of those who signed up for Obamacare by the end of 2013 were between the ages of 18 and 34, the Obama administration reported Monday, falling below what experts have called the ideal proportion of young adults in the new health insurance marketplace. However, administration officials said they are comfortable with the proportion of young enrollees so far, and they expect Obamacare enrollment in the key demographic group to accelerate in the second half of the six-month open enrollment period (Condon, 1/13).

Fox News: Insurers Raise Cost Concerns After ObamaCare Demographic Data Released
Insurers have raised concerns that too few young people are signing up for health insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges after newly released statistics showed that less than a quarter of people who have enrolled are between the ages of 18 and 34 (1/14).

McClatchy: Young Adult Enrollment In Health Care Marketplaces Lags
Halfway through the six-month enrollment period for private marketplace health insurance, just one in four new adult enrollees are between ages 18 and 34, the crucial demographic group whose participation rates are key to keeping monthly premiums affordable under Obamacare. In the first release of extensive demographic data about the new enrollee population, the Obama administration said Monday that 55 percent, or roughly 1.2 million of the nearly 2.2 million people who've selected a federal or state marketplace plan, are generally older adults, ranging in age from 45 to 64. About 517,000, or 24 percent, of the new enrollees were young adults ages 18 to 34 (Pugh and Kumar, 1/13).

Marketplace: Obamacare Stats Show Young Folks Are Signing Up
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that nearly 2 million people enrolled for health insurance through the federal and state exchanges in December. That includes a dramatic increase in the number of young people signing up. That number of so-called 'young invincibles' is higher than some had predicted. And in a conference call today, HHS officials said that about one in four of all the consumers on the exchanges are between the ages of 18-34. Ideally, you want to see a higher rate, about 40 percent, of exchange customers in that age range. The data raises a bunch of questions (Gorenstein, 1/13).

The Fiscal Times: Four New Mysteries in the Obamacare Enrollment Numbers
The White House is still lagging to meet self-imposed enrollment targets. And young people are not signing up at the pace the White House needs, no matter how CMS claims that they're on track to meet their goals. Now that we know the December data, here are four mysteries in the Obamacare numbers (Francis, 1/14).

The Fiscal Times: White House Claims It Will Reach Obamacare Goal
Nearly a quarter of the 2.2 million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far are young people, ages 18-34, the demographic most important to the success of the president's healthcare law. It's not clear yet, however, how many have actually paid their premiums. A new White House report released Monday shows some 489,460 Americans ages 18-34 have signed up for health insurance through the state and federal exchanges since Obamacare's launch on Oct 1. Though White House officials say they are encouraged by the new numbers, they are well below the administration's goal of enrolling 2.7 million young Americans which are needed to subsidize the cost of older, sicker Americans (Ehley, 1/13).

CQ HealthBeat: HHS Optimistic About Exchange Sign-Ups Among Young, But Enrollment Still Key
Federal officials reported Monday that nearly 2.2 million Americans through Dec. 28 selected health plans from federal and state insurance exchanges. The officials said they are pleased with the sign-up rate by the key demographic group of young Americans, even though so far the percentage of young adults is lower than what the Obama administration has said will be needed by the time that open enrollment ends on March 31 (Reichard, 1/13).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

 

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