Youth participation low in early Obamacare enrollment – Yahoo News
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON Reuters – The new private health plans available under Obamacare drew in fewer young and healthy Americans than needed for the administration to make healthcare reform a market success in the first wave of enrollment, an official report showed on Monday.
Twenty-four percent of the 2.2 million people who signed up for private coverage between October 1 and December 28 belonged to a target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds, according to the first administration report to provide a demographic breakdown on enrollment in the new plans offered under President Barack Obama\’s healthcare law.
That compares with a target of closer to 38 percent set before the program’s botched October 1 rollout, when administration officials believed that about 2.7 million of a forecast 7 million enrollees for 2014 would be between 18 and 35.
Younger enrollees tend to be healthy and are needed to help offset the cost of covering older, sicker consumers, because Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging sick people higher rates and limits the cost premium they can assign to older policyholders.
… A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation said having younger adults make up only 25 percent of enrollees would present a “worst case” scenario. They found that costs then would be about 2.4 percent higher, but insurers would retain a very slim profit margin.
As a result, the Kaiser authors projected the companies would raise premiums by a commensurate amount, but not enough to destabilize the market.