Young and Healthy Still Needed in Exchanges

Who's purchasing health plans through the insurance exchanges? According to the federal government, more than 2.1 million people have enrolled into private insurance coverage through December, and an additional 1.6 million became eligible for financial assistance under Medicaid.

Who’s purchasing health plans through the insurance exchanges? According to the federal government, more than 2.1 million people have enrolled into private insurance coverage through December, and an additional 1.6 million became eligible for financial assistance under Medicaid.

However, only 24% of those new enrollees were part of the young and healthy group — or the “young invincibles.” In fact, more than half of the newly insured are between the ages of 45 and 64. More of the young invincibles are needed to enroll in order to drive down the costs of the higher-risk groups.

States with the largest percentages of older participants include West Virginia, Maine, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Ohio. States with the lowest included Massachusetts, Utah, Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia. The variation in enrollment is due to a variety of factors within the states including the type of exchanges they have established, as well as the amount of uninsured existing in their populations.

“There’s no way to spin it: youth enrollment has been a bust so far,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “When they see that Obamacare offers high costs for limited access to doctors — if the enrollment goes through at all — it’s no surprise that young people aren’t rushing to sign up.”

Other findings report that nearly 80% of exchange enrollees purchased an insurance plan with the help of a subsidy. As well, more women than men have signed up for exchange coverage (54% vs 46% respectively).

Robert E. Zirkelbach, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans, said that it could take up to 6 months for insurers to determine whether the number of younger and healthy people enrolled will be enough to keep premiums stable in the coming years.

Around the Web

Who's Buying Obamacare, in Three Charts [Bloomberg]

Older Pool of Health Care Enrollees Stirs Fears on Costs [NY Times]

Adverse Selection: Obamacare Exchange Enrollment Skews Much Older Than U.S. Population; Cost Increases Likely [Forbes]