Over half of those who signed up for Obamacare are 45 or older

By Daniel S Levine,

A study released on Monday shows that over half of Americans who have signed up for private health plans on the new insurance exchange set up under Obamacare are 45 or older.

Through Dec. 28, there have been 2.2 million people to sign up, the Obama administration said, reports The Wall Street Journal. While that number is mostly thanks to the troubles with the federal HealthCare.gov during October and November being ironed out, the demographics of those that have signed up show that some of those early troubles may still be having an effect.

The big issue with the lack of young people signing on is that it could affect prices on plans. Insurers say that prices can only stay in check if younger people, who tend to be less sick than older people, sign on. But today’s statistics show that it’s not happening yet.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that 55 percent of the early enrollees are in the 45 to 64 age group, notes USA Today. HHS officials did note that 26 percent of the 2.2 million were under 35.

The plan has each state as a single market and the numbers did vary widely. The WSJ notes that Utah reported just 25 percent of its enrollees are over 55. Washington DC reported that 37 percent of its enrollees are in the 26 to 34 group.

The overall number of enrollees in each state also varies, with 498,794 people signing up on California’s own exchange system, while 118,532 Texans signed up on the federal exchange.

While Nancy Delew, acting HHS deputy secretary for planning and evaluation, did note that the lack of young enrollees is similar to the way the Massachusetts health exchange began, Republicans slammed the numbers. House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck called it a “bust,” adding, “It's no surprise that young people aren't rushing to sign up.”

“The numbers released today show that our ongoing work to improve HealthCare.gov is making a difference,” Medicare spokeswoman Julie Bataille said. “We know that the mix is important and that will certainly be key to our outreach going forward.”

image: Healthcare homepage

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