#Obamacare benchmark woes continue: Youth enrollment only at 24%

ObamaCare: Bad for your wallet … and your health.

Via The Hill:

Too few young people are signing up for ObamaCare to stop premiums from rising, new data released by the administration on Monday show.

Only 24 percent of Obama-Care’s enrollees are young people, well below the 40 percent benchmark set by the administration for the critical 18- to 34-year-old age group. Older people, who are typically more expensive to cover, made up the single largest group of Obama-Care enrollees.

Thirty-three percent of the 2.2 million who had selected a plan through the exchanges as of December were between the ages of 55 and 64, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department said Monday.

To keep premiums affordable, experts say it is vital that the law attract about that many young and healthy “invincibles” unlikely to need critical care to balance out older and sicker uninsured people who enroll and will be more costly to the system.

The administration struck a confident tone during a conference call with reporters, arguing that the law will work fine at present demographic levels.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pointed to December data in arguing the percentage of young people who will enroll is likely to rise. She said the momentum with young enrollees “was particularly strong” in December, when the administration says it saw an eight-fold increase in the number of 18- to 34-year-olds signing up.

“We expected older adults to sign up early and we expect more young adults to come in by the end of the second enrollment period,” said Nancy Delew, the acting HHS secretary for planning and evaluation.


Obama administration officials said they expect young adults to sign up in higher numbers before open enrollment ends on March 31, as many observers expected younger and healthier people would put off enrolling until the last second.

It was also expected that some of the nation’s sickest people who were uninsured would rush first to the new exchanges.

Don’t you love how the useful idiots in this administration are always moving the goalposts?  The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein analyzes:

In a new report, HHS said that through Dec. 28 (about halfway through the six-month open enrollment period), roughly 2.2 million Americans signed up for coverage on one of the law’s health insurance exchanges. That’s well below the administration’s target of 3.3 million. And HHS still hasn’t disclosed how many of those who have signed up for insurance have actually paid their first premiums, which is necessary for enrollment to be finalized.

Leading up to the launch of the exchanges Oct. 1, administration officials had been telling reporters that in order to be a success, 2.7 million of the projected 7 million enrollees in the health care law’s exchanges would need to be from the young adult demographic. Attracting a critical mass of young and healthy enrollees was seen as necessary to offset the cost of covering older and sicker Americans, particularly those with pre-existing conditions. But in the report, HHS said that just 24 percent of those who signed up so far were aged 18 to 34.

In December, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation identified a “worst-case scenario” situation in which just 25 percent of enrollees were in the 18-to-34 demographic.


Though there’s a plausible case to be made that younger Americans will wait until later to sign up, the administration is still in a deep hole. Because the current number of young adult signups is significantly less than 40 percent, to make up ground, signups in the coming months will have to be significantly higher than 40 percent.

As an example, let’s just say all of the roughly 2.2 million Americans whom HHS says have signed up for insurance pay their premiums and complete enrollment, and the total paid enrollment number through March ends up being 5 million people. To meet the original demographic goal, about 1.4 million of the remaining 2.8 million enrollees — or roughly half — would have to be between the ages of 18 and 34.

Ouch.  As they say, stay tuned – especially to actual PAID ENROLLMENT numbers and not just “sign ups.”

Hat tip: Memeorandum

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