The latest news we’re hearing about the new health insurance exchanges and the Affordable Care Act are twofold.
The first piece of news we received is that, as expected, the young and healthy are still sitting on the sidelines where as those that are older piled in fairly quickly.
As per the BenefitsNews article entitled “Obamacare Customers Skew Older as Young Wait for Pitch,” showed about 70% of the initial customers are 35 years of age or older. Unfortunately, this is not what The Administration planned on.
The Obama administration wanted people younger than 35 to make up about 40% of total enrollment to help offset the cost of care for older and sicker people. Missing the target for “young invincibles” may lead insurers to adjust prices if gains aren’t made by the official March 31 end of enrollment.
The federal- and state-run insurance exchanges, the heart of the Affordable Care Act, enrolled 2.2 million people for private health plans in the three months ended Dec. 28, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report.
About 24% were 18-to 34-year-olds, and about one-third were 55 or older.
Obama administration officials said there is momentum behind enrollment by young adults, as eight times as many people ages 18 to 34 signed up in December as in November and October.
To keep the system financially stable, the White House had said it needs about 2.7 million of the new enrollees to be young, healthy customers.
The demographics of people signing up for coverage varied from state to state.
Nationwide, about 54% of people in exchange plans were female. The administration plans to “focus on reaching young adults and in particular young males” in its efforts through March, Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said on (a) conference call.
Keep in mind, “When Massachusetts started its health-insurance exchange, younger and healthier people were the most likely to procrastinate until the final weeks of the 11-month open enrollment period to obtain coverage.” This is the law on which the current federal law is based.
The second piece of news is also not a big surprise. A government report shared that both supporters and detractors have reasons to cheer.
This second article from BenefitsNews, stated that The Administration predicted that enrollment would increase as 2013 drew to a close. As noted above, this prediction was accurate. In fact, the federal exchange “which initially performed worse than those operated by the states, are now enrolling people at a quicker rate than state exchanges. That’s a validation of sorts for the Department of Health and Human Services, as it supports the notion that it’s learning from its early mistakes.”
Of course, detractor have plenty to point at as well. As described above, the right balance of young and old, healthy and not, has not been met in order to keep health insurance affordable.
Although The Administration’s numbers are within reach, they have clearly not yet been met.
Do you think they will reach the targets necessary to make the Affordable Care Act feasible? Please share in the comments section below or on our facebook page.
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