Are More Old Folks Than Youth Enrolling in State-Run Exchanges?

by Sterling Beard

Some unfortunate news has emerged from state-run exchanges lately: It appears that more old people than young people are signing up for Obamacare.

In Connecticut, according to officials, 40 percent of enrollees are between 55 and 64 years old. Enrollments from 18- to 34-year-old Connecticuters only account for 26 percent of the total, 14 percent less than their elder peers. Connecticut isn’t the only one with those sorts of figures. Kentucky saw 39 percent of enrollees at 55 years or older, against 24 percent under the age of 34.

The Obama administration is hoping 38 percent of the enrollees on the state exchanges and the federal one are 18 to 34 — or 2.7 million of the 7 million they were planning to sign up.

According to Reuters, older folks are 36 percent of the 23,500 private-plan enrollees in four states that are reporting such details: Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, and Washington. Younger enrollees only account for over 20 percent. 

By itself, Maryland has some positive news: Only 22 percent of its enrollees were 55 or older versus 34 percent who were 34 and under. 

Only a few states have released demographic information for enrollees, and the federal government has not done so for states relying on, the federal health exchange. The administration has said that it expects the young to wait until the last moment to sign up; they’ll need to sign up by around December 15 if they want coverage to begin on the first day of 2014, but the open-enrollment period will last until the end of March.

Young enrollees are critical to the success of Obamacare. As John Fund notes, a lack of youth enrollments means that there are fewer healthier people to subsidize the sick. One bad sign: Young Americans, once one of President Obama’s strongest supporters, have turned against the law, and disapprove of it 51 percent to 42 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

Via Kaiser.

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