Young, Healthy People Using ObamaCare? Not So Much

Obama administration releases its first user statistics
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 5:35 PM CST
Young, Healthy People Using ObamaCare? Not So Much
This Oct. 30, 2013 file photo shows Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

So far, most people signing up for ObamaCare are on the older side—a trend that could force insurance premiums to rise if younger, healthier enrollees remain a minority, the New York Times reports. The first official release of ObamaCare numbers shows that 2.2 million people enrolled in the first three months. Among them, 55% are ages 45 to 64, 24% are 18 to 34, and about a third are 55 to 64. Naturally, the Obama administration is putting a positive spin on it and Republicans are pouncing. Among the reactions:

  • "We’re pleased to see such a strong response and heavy demand," said health secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Among young adults, the momentum was particularly strong."
  • "There’s no way to spin it: youth enrollment has been a bust so far," said a spokesman for John Boehner. "When they see that ObamaCare offers high costs for limited access to doctors ... it’s no surprise that young people aren’t rushing to sign up."
  • The numbers don't really mean much, according to a quick Denver Post analysis. For one thing, it's unclear how many enrollees were uninsured to begin with. And the Post notes that with RomneyCare, "many people—especially many young people—waited until the last minute to sign up."
  • On the plus side, the number of people enrolling jumped 500% over a single month, and federally run exchanges are now outpacing state exchanges, notes Bloomberg. On the downside, the age breakdown could indeed raise insurance premiums.
Click to see why the Spanish-language ObamaCare site has become its own problem. (More ObamaCare stories.)

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