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Quarter of Obamacare sign-ups are young adults, short of target

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Quarter of Obamacare sign-ups are young adults, short of target Empty Quarter of Obamacare sign-ups are young adults, short of target

Post  fshnski on Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:08 pm

The Obama administration on Monday announced that less than a quarter of those who have signed up for Obamacare are between 18 and 34 years old, a figure that falls short of the White House's initial target for ensuring enough younger, healthier Americans enroll in health plans to keep the Affordable Care Act afloat.

With its first public disclosure of Obamacare demographic data, the Department of Health and Human Services said that of the 2.2 million who enrolled in new health plans through federal and state exchanges by Dec. 28, just 24 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34.

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The administration trumpeted the findings as proof that Americans, including so-called “Millennials,” were beginning to gravitate towards Obamacare after the botched rollout of the health law’s insurance exchanges.

The White House, however, originally estimated that 2.7 million of a projected 7 million people — or nearly 40 percent — enrolling in Obamacare by the end of March would be from the youngest demographic.

That the administration chose to focus on the youngest Obamacare enrollees Monday shows just how critical the group is to the sustainability of the health care law. For President Obama's signature domestic achievement to work, younger, healthier Americans must enroll in new health plans to keep premiums down for older, sicker patients.

Despite the underwhelming initial returns, the administration on Monday insisted that it was on track for managing the most sweeping overhaul to the health care system since Medicare.

“Among young adults, the momentum was particularly strong,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a conference call with reporters.

Republicans, though, said that the numbers showed a lack of enthusiasm for Obamacare among young adults.

“There’s no way to spin it: youth enrollment has been a bust so far,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “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.”

Missing from the administration’s data, however, was the breakdown of those who had actually paid their first month’s premium and the percentage of those who were actually receiving insurance for the first time rather than just shifting plans.

Republicans contend that more Americans lost health insurance than gained it on Jan. 1 because of new Obamacare regulations that forced some insurers to drop existing plans.

Roughly 1.8 million people selected a health plan in December, compared to just 365,000 in October and November, according to HHS. Administration officials also said that 54 percent of enrollees were female and 46 percent were male.

Sixty percent had selected a so-called silver plan and 20 percent had chosen a bronze plan — the most basic coverage option — while 13 percent selected a gold plan and another 7 percent signed up for a platinum plan.

Seventy-nine percent of those signed up for Obamacare exchanges would receive financial assistance, HHS added.

The White House is attempting to reshape the Obamacare narrative after the problem-ridden rollout of healthcare.gov diminished the president's standing with the public.

The White House pointed to the Massachusetts health care system, a model for Obamacare, saying that residents there didn't sign up for new plans until the final days before the deadline.

“We think that more and more young people are going to sign up as time goes by, which was the experience in Massachusetts,” said Gary Cohen, deputy administrator and director at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

The administration is “very pleased with the percentage we have so far,” he added.


http://washingtonexaminer.com/quarter-of-obamacare-sign-ups-are-young-adults-short-of-target/article/2542085

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Quarter of Obamacare sign-ups are young adults, short of target Empty WSJ, NYTimes, USA Today All Note ObamaCare Signups Mostly Older, Sicker

Post  fshnski on Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:42 pm

The Obama administration today revealed that more than half of the sign-ups for ObamaCare are aged 45 and older, hardly the sort of young, healthy insurance pool the White House was hoping for.

On their websites, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times all focused on the older/sicker skew of the Healthcare.gov signups. The Washington Post, however, tried to accentuate the positive for the administration.

"Young adults make up almost one-quarter of health sign-ups," cheered the WashingtonPost.com headline [see collage of headlines below the page break]. But as Louise Radnofsky reported for the Journal (emphasis mine):

More than half of those signing up for private health plans on new insurance exchanges are 45 or older, the Obama administration said Monday, a sign that the rough rollout of the exchanges may have skewed early enrollment.

In all, nearly 2.2 million people across the country signed up for individual coverage through Dec. 28, with a significant uptick in December after anemic numbers in October and November as consumers battled through technical problems.

With the worst of those problems largely resolved at the federal HealthCare.gov website, attention is now shifting to the demographics of the new enrollees, which is likely to determine the long-term impact of the law.

At the heart of the health overhaul law is a change in the way insurance is priced. Consumers no longer pay premiums based on their health risks, and health plans are limited in how much they can vary prices based on age. To keep prices in check in the new market, carriers say they need strong enrollment from younger people who are likely to be healthier, to balance out the bills that could be racked up by sicker and older people. If that doesn't happen, prices will likely spike sharply in subsequent years, actuaries say.

Across the country, some 33% of the nearly 2.2 million people who signed up were between the ages of 55 and 64, and an additional 22% were between 45 and 54, according to nationwide data compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal government is running insurance exchanges on behalf of 36 states, while 14 states and the District of Columbia are operating their own exchanges.

As Robert Pear and Michael Shear noted in their January 13 story for the Times:

Larry Levitt, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, has said that “the mix of enrollment is much more important than the total number.”
“If you assume that sicker individuals are likely to come in first, then a smaller pool is likely to be a sicker pool,” Mr. Levitt said. “The best guarantee of a diverse pool is a big pool, because that means you are probably reaching younger and healthier people.”

Mr. Levitt said that people enrolling early included some with the greatest needs: people who had been locked out of the individual insurance market because of serious illnesses and those coming from federal and state programs for people with pre-existing conditions.

But for their part, in their story "Young adults make up almost one-quarter of sign-ups in health-insurance exchanges," Post scribes Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashekhar tried to accentuate the positive as well as to chalk up the lack of youth registrants to website problems, not the fact that for most young people it makes little sense to buy coverage as opposed to stay on a parent's plan or just deal with a fine extracted from their income tax refund :

The figures mean that the proportion of young adults who have signed up is smaller than estimates by the government and outside health policy analysts have suggested is necessary to make the exchanges work well. It is estimated that roughly two Americans in five in the new health plans should be young adults to prevent the plans’ premiums from rising and some insurers from potentially dropping out.

In releasing the report, several federal health officials gave an upbeat portrayal, saying that they were pleased with the progress and predicting that the plans will attract more young adults during the second half of an open enrollment period that continues through March. The report “is solid, solid news for us,” a senior Obama administration official told reporters at a White House briefing.

The numbers, however, ratchet up the pressure on outreach efforts around the country to persuade young people to sign up. Their willingness to do so — even in the face of a new legal requirement that most Americans have coverage--has hovered as one of the uncertainties about how the law would work in practice.
The proportion of young people — 24 percent overall — “is lower than would be ideal,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which completed a study last month showing that 40 percent of the U.S. population that could benefit from the new insurance marketplaces are 18 to 34 years old. But Levitt called the proportion “an encouraging number,” given that 2 1/2 months remain for people to enroll for coverage this year and that the federal online system, HealthCare.gov had defects that prevented many people from signing up for much of the fall.


Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2014/01/13/washpost-happily-spins-bad-obamacare-enrollment-wsj-nytimes-usa-today-#ixzz2qKD3ZAxj

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Post  News Hawk on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:30 pm

fshnski wrote:"...Mr. Levitt said that people enrolling early included some with the greatest needs: people who had been locked out of the individual insurance market because of serious illnesses and those coming from federal and state programs for people with pre-existing conditions..."

Pre-existing conditions?

...like AIDS?

 Surprised 


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Post  Achigan on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:35 pm

It's not good to have Pre-existing conditions is it. It's better to have just conditions and not pre-existing ones.
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Post  WHL on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:58 am

I don't know why this is such a big surprise. Would you expect people who don't want assistance to sign up?
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Post  Achigan on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:11 am

Some might and some might not.
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Post  News Hawk on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:51 am

Achigan wrote:It's not good to have Pre-existing conditions is it.  It's better to have just conditions and not pre-existing ones.

They're getting AIDS from toilet seats?

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Post  Achigan on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:53 am

News Hawk wrote:
Achigan wrote:It's not good to have Pre-existing conditions is it.  It's better to have just conditions and not pre-existing ones.

They're getting AIDS from toilet seats?

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That's interesting news.
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Post  News Hawk on Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:03 am

Written by two jouralists:




My husband, Miles, was enrolled in what appeared to be an excellent, affordable plan at the stroke of midnight. Celebration seemed in order. It had been a tough slog, of course. We’d worried the GOP would succeed in defunding it or undermining it in some other way that would put affordable coverage further out of our reach. Then we’d wrestled with that horrific website, struggled to understand the choices before us and waited nervously after we did so to see if the insurance card would actually materialize. It did. On Jan. 1, we rejoiced. And on Jan. 10, we gave up. Ten days in, we decided to cancel Miles’ Obamacare plan, swallow hundreds of dollars we’ll probably never recover and buy him a private policy away from the Federal Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace. His new plan does benefit from many requirements of the Affordable Care Act as well, so that’s good. But even the administrators at Obamacare’s headquarters have agreed this is the best option. Really. That’s not how it was supposed to be. After dozens of hours of phone calls that displaced my usual work obligations this week, only one thing is clear: Nobody can give anybody a straight or consistent answer to anything. Our troubles may strike some as trivial and particular, although they wouldn’t if it happened to them. And anyone who wants a successful system – as we do – must understand that these nightmares are happening across the nation to the very people who want Obamacare to work.

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Post  Achigan on Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:25 am

News Hawk wrote:Written by two jouralists:




My husband, Miles, was enrolled in what appeared to be an excellent, affordable plan at the stroke of midnight. Celebration seemed in order. It had been a tough slog, of course. We’d worried the GOP would succeed in defunding it or undermining it in some other way that would put affordable coverage further out of our reach. Then we’d wrestled with that horrific website, struggled to understand the choices before us and waited nervously after we did so to see if the insurance card would actually materialize. It did. On Jan. 1, we rejoiced. And on Jan. 10, we gave up. Ten days in, we decided to cancel Miles’ Obamacare plan, swallow hundreds of dollars we’ll probably never recover and buy him a private policy away from the Federal Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace. His new plan does benefit from many requirements of the Affordable Care Act as well, so that’s good. But even the administrators at Obamacare’s headquarters have agreed this is the best option. Really. That’s not how it was supposed to be. After dozens of hours of phone calls that displaced my usual work obligations this week, only one thing is clear: Nobody can give anybody a straight or consistent answer to anything. Our troubles may strike some as trivial and particular, although they wouldn’t if it happened to them. And anyone who wants a successful system – as we do – must understand that these nightmares are happening across the nation to the very people who want Obamacare to work.
 
I hope "Miles" recovers from his fictitious enrollment with the ACA.  I also hope the fictitious "jouralists" sp could at least give us a hint as to who they are.
This post is just another nail in the coffin for the GOP.  The American people are getting sick and tired of this nonsense and it will show in the coming elections.
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Post  News Buzzard on Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:37 am

Well said, Achigan! The Republicans are wearing this one out and it showed during their shutdown debacle.

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Post  Achigan on Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:51 am

News Buzzard wrote:Well said, Achigan! The Republicans are wearing this one out and it showed during their shutdown debacle.

Thank you NB and you are right about the "shutdown debacle".
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Post  WHL on Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:17 pm

Yes dear.
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Post  News Hawk on Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:53 pm

Still more:

This couple (both journalists -- surprise!) desperately wanted, and still want, Obamacare to work. But it's been such a colossal cluster for their finances and health that they had no choice but to pull the plug. I'll leave you with the story that got top billing in the headline, and it's a doozy.

An Obamacare official admitted in testimony yesterday that the administration has no idea how many of the supposed 2.1 million new "enrollees" are actually paid up -- and are therefore actually enrolled (though even that hasn't been a silver bullet for everyone). And why, pray tell, don't they have a handle on this important number? Because the online functions that would track this sort of thing...still haven't been built.

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Post  WHL on Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:00 pm

And even the admin. did know, which I am sure they don't, they would lie without blinking an eye.
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Post  Achigan on Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:56 pm

WHL wrote:And even the admin. did know, which I am sure they don't, they would lie without blinking an eye.
 
I went to the government website to see if they had any numbers and they sure do.  This is what I found so I thought I would post the results and a link to the info.  
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2014

Contact: HHS Press Office  http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/01/20140113a.html
(202) 690-6343


Nearly 2.2 million Americans selected plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace from October through December

Thirty percent of those who selected plans were under age 35


Nearly 2.2 million people have selected plans from the state and federal marketplaces by Dec. 28, 2013 (the end of third reporting period for open enrollment), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

A new HHS report provides the first demographic information about enrollees. December alone accounted for nearly 1.8 million enrollees in state and federal marketplaces. Enrollment in the federal Marketplace in December was seven-fold greater than the combined total for October and November – and eight-fold greater for young adults ages 18 to 34.

“Americans are finding quality affordable coverage in the Marketplace, and best of all, because coverage began on New Year’s Day, the promise and hope of the Affordable Care Act is now a reality,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Our outreach efforts have ramped up, so whether it’s through public service announcements, events, our champions or other means, we are doing all we can to find, inform and enroll those who can benefit from the Marketplace.  There is still plenty of time for you and your family to sign up in a private plan of your choice, so visit HealthCare.gov to learn more and sign up now.”

Key findings from today’s report include:
•Nearly 2.2 million (2,153,421) people selected Marketplace plans from Oct. 1 through Dec. 28, 2013
•These signups in the state and federal marketplaces represent a nearly five-fold increase from October-November, including nearly 1.8 million (1,788,739) people who selected a plan in December (compared with the previous two-month cumulative total of 364,682 through Nov. 30, 2013).
•Of the almost 2.2. million: ◦54 percent are female and 46 percent are male;
◦30 percent are age 34 and under;
◦24 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34, and;
◦60 percent selected a Silver plan, while 20 percent selected a Bronze plan; and
◦79 percent selected a plan with Financial Assistance.


Today’s report also details state-by-state information where available.  In some cases, only partial datasets were available for state marketplaces.

The report features cumulative data for the three-month period because some people apply, shop, and select a plan across monthly reporting periods.  Enrollment is measured as those who selected a plan.

 
To read the report visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/MarketPlaceEnrollment/Jan2014/ib_2014jan_enrollment.pdf
 
To hear stories of Americans enrolling in the Marketplace visit: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/mystory/index.html
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