NRL News

Young not signing up for Obama health care plans

by | Jan 14, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Dec. 11.  (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Dec. 11.
(Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Unless I write about nothing else, it’s impossible to do justice to the river of problems the rollout of Obamacare has drenched the American public in.

At the top of a multi-tiered list is just one more example of evidence confirming what any thoughtful person knew would be the case: young, healthy people are signing up in proportions far too low for the system to be financially viable.

This particular example was/is so obvious—and potentially so significant—we’ll talk about just it today.

From a page one story in today’s Washington Post written by Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashkehar:

“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.

“According to the report, released by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 24 percent of the nearly 2.2 million people who enrolled in the marketplaces through the end of December are between the ages of 18 and 34. One-third are 55 to 64 years old.

“The figures mean that the proportion of young adults is lagging behind what both government and outside health policy analysts have said will be required for the exchanges to remain stable. Analyses have concluded that, to prevent health plans’ premiums from rising and some insurers from potentially dropping out, roughly two in five Americans in the plans should be young adults. …

“Whether sufficient numbers of young people will [sign up], despite the law’s requirement that most Americans have coverage or face a financial penalty, has been an uncertainty hovering over the law.”

And, at the end of the story in an almost “oh by the way” observation, Goldstein and Somashkehar write

“The report also showed that, of four tiers of coverage, named for different metals, by far the most popular are the ‘silver’ plans — the second level from the bottom — which outside health analysts have found have a typical insurance deductible of $2,500, far more than traditional health coverage.” {emphasis added.}

Jennifer Rubin, also writing in the Post today, observed that critics of Obamacare

“have argued all along that the problem is not simply a malfunctioning Web site; they correctly anticipated that the government would be unsuccessful in luring enough young, healthy people into the exchanges to buy insurance they don’t want or can’t afford.”

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Categories: ObamaCare