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HomeNewsMarketsHHS Touts New Marketplace Enrollment, But Youth Participation Still Too Low

HHS Touts New Marketplace Enrollment, But Youth Participation Still Too Low

The Health and Human Services Department boasted the release of new ObamaCare Marketplace enrollment numbers, but youth participation was still far too low in the month of January to argue the program’s viability and sustainability.

In a blog post previewing the new Marketplace enrollment report, Health and Human Services wrote:

Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace continued to rise in January, with a 53 percent increase in overall enrollment over the prior three month reporting period, with young adult enrollment outpacing all other age groups combined, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

However, the proportion of young adults ages 18 to 34 who have actually selected a Marketplace plan through the State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) and Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFMs) grew far too modestly in the fourth month of the open enrollment period compared to the prior three months, or just 3 percentage points. In the fourth month just 27 percent were ages 18 – 34, compared to the prior three months that saw a cumulative 24 percent participation proportion.

Though the administration has tried to downplay their own stated goals, experts agree that the program can only remain financially stable with youth participation totaling a proportional average of 40 percent. In total, 3.3 million people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace plans by Feb. 1, 2014, which is the end of the fourth reporting period for open enrollment, and though January saw 1.1 million of that figure, the administration is far below the rate needed to exceed 7 million by the end of open enrollment in March.

Plan selections also suggest that sicker, older people are selecting plans, with more generous plans insinuating the need for higher coverage. As of February 1, 62 percent selected a Silver plan, while just 19 percent selected a Bronze plan, which experts say will be the majority choice for healthier Americans.

The administration recently announced yet another unilateral delay of the law’s implementation, in this case for mid-size businesses who are otherwise required to comply with the mandate. The move came shortly after the CBO released a report finding that ObamaCare will kill over 2.3 million jobs by providing workers with incentives not to work full-time, and job creators incentivized not to hire.

Despite the spin by HHS and administration officials, the bottom line is that both the numbers and Obama’s actions show the law is in trouble. Unfortunately, due to the built-in bailout for insurance companies, it is the American people who are truly in trouble.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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