Do ObamaCare refusers skew a bit older?

posted at 11:21 am on December 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

ABC News argues today that the perception of younger Americans refusing to buy comprehensive health insurance is mistaken, based on a long survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation.  According to the survey, “the political lens is the most important,” and the politics of younger Americans leans more toward participating.  Or should that verb be leaned?

What does Kaiser know about the demographics of the two groups?

“Those who don’t plan to get coverage actually skew a bit older,” says Brodie. “Twenty percent of those who don’t plan to get coverage are under age 30, compared to 34 percent of those who do.”

Politics, it seems, is a defining difference between the haves and have-nots. …

Some 58 percent of California’s eligible uninsured (ages 18-34) said they planned to get health coverage–similar or higher than the older uninsured. Says Brodie, referring to both the national and the California surveys, “We see no evidence in either project that the young uninsured are less interested in signing up.”

Well, we’ve seen some of that evidence in the pattern of enrollments — or more accurately, sign-ups. Only 365,000 had selected a plan in the federal and state exchanges through the end of November, and the demographics reported by the states showed that younger and healthier enrollees came to a mid-20% range, far below the 38% or so needed by insurers to force escalating premiums.

The difference would be when the key survey cited by ABC News took place. Kaiser’s national poll took place in November, but ABC doesn’t reveal the dates or the survey size, or much of anything else about it except some allusions to the topline. (No small wonder, either — the Kaiser tracking poll in November produced relentlessly negative outcomes for ObamaCare, and nowhere reported sign-up trends for younger Americans.)  The California poll is where ABC derives most of its claim, and note carefully the methodology and when the survey was taken:

The California poll was conducted by Kaiser from July 11 through August 29, 2013. It queried by phone a representative sample of 2,001 California adults between the ages 19 to 64 who said they had been living without health insurance for at least two months at the time of the interview. The margin of error for the 19-34 year olds (on whom most of the poll’s findings are based) is plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Plus or minus six points?  That’s a fairly wide MOE for any poll, especially for the key demo in a poll.  It includes only Californians, which isn’t necessarily the most representative state for “the political lens.” Also, this wasn’t really a random survey of adults or voters, but one that focused on a group that hadn’t had insurance coverage when surveyed. As the November national poll showed, that would only be 18% of the general population.  That leaves out anyone who had insurance before ObamaCare got imposed, including those who may have had insurance they liked that got cancelled because it didn’t meet the ObamaCare mandate rules and who will now have to pay a fortune in premiums and deductibles before accessing any benefits at all.

But most importantly, those issues weren’t known to the survey audience at the time of the poll.  The last date of the survey was nearly a month before HHS released the approved exchange premium prices, and before the increased deductibles became apparent.  It’s about six weeks before insurers began flooding mailboxes with cancellations, too, which added a lot more people to the ranks of the soon-to-be-uninsured that ObamaCare has added in the other direction — 5.2 million to 365,000.

Where do we find the data showing that actual sign-ups skew older and not younger? Er, from Kaiser itself — in late November, too:

Reuters: Early Obamacare Data Show Older Americans More Apt To Sign Up
More older Americans than young adults so far have signed up for new insurance coverage under the state marketplaces created by President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to early data from four states reporting details on their enrollment. The age balance is being closely watched to determine the financial stability of the insurance market created by the Affordable Care Act, as the participation of younger people is needed to offset costs for sicker beneficiaries (Krauskopf, 11/20).

The Wall Street Journal‘s Washington Wire: Connecticut’s Early Health Enrollees Skew Older
Are older Americans enrolling in health insurance plans in greater numbers than young adults? Early enrollment figures released by two states suggest that could be the case. Data released Tuesday by Connecticut officials show that more people over the age of 55 enrolled in private insurance (40%) than people under the age of 35 (26%). The figures represented enrollment in private health plans as of Nov. 15 (Schatz, 11/19).

CNN: Obamacare Enrollments Pick Up Steam But Don’t Include Many Young People
Obamacare might be off to a slow start but it’s starting to pick up steam, at least in states that are not using the beleaguered HealthCare.gov website. Blocked out at HealthCare.gov? Bypass on way soon, feds say. For the past month, CNN has conducted a state-by-state survey to determine enrollment in the new insurance plans. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 133,257 people had chosen new insurance plans in the 14 states with their own signup apparatuses. Nearly half of them were enrolled in the past two weeks (Hellerman, 11/19).

In this case, we won’t need a poll to tell us how this turns out. Younger people are balking so far at paying exorbitant premiums for benefits they’ll never access just to subsidize the premiums of older and less healthy Americans.  That’s the difference between taking a survey when these issues were still theoretical, and watching the actual behavior when the issues become reality.

Note: I’m still on leave until Monday, and I want to thank Hot Air readers for their many messages of support as we settle arrangements for my sister-in-law Mary’s passing.

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Prayers ascending for you and family, Ed…

OmahaConservative on December 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Refusers?

Is that like “Deniers?”

“H8urz?”

CurtZHP on December 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM

That’s the difference between taking a survey when these issues were still theoretical, and watching the actual behavior when the issues become reality.

IMO, that was the turning point with Obamacare. It was only when people got Error 404′d when trying to sign up for this wonderful healthcare plan they’d been hearing about for three years that the tide of public opinion turned.

Happy Nomad on December 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

The laws of economics and human nature will prevail… The vast majority of young uninsured and who are not eligible for Medicaid are not going to buy Obamacare insurance. The reason is very simple. It will cost them much less to pay the 1% of their salary as a penalty than buy a crappy Obamacare insurance, including all the subsidies, and of course that will have very high deductible and doctors copays… It is that simple… The vast majority of the young uninsured who are saying they are going to buy Obamacare in a poll are simply lying…

mnjg on December 12, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Seriously, I should be able to save/make about $10K a year after investing what I was paying in premiums, and I’ll just jump back in when I need insurance.
 
The young Obama voters are definitely going to buy my grandchildren their first cars, and probably pay for most of my collector’s toy or vacation home.
 
rogerb on August 28, 2013 at 1:32 PM

rogerb on December 12, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Didn’t the Obama administration shoot themselves in the foot by first saying that children up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents healthcare plan? But, isn’t this part of a key demographic that the Prez needs to contribute help support older folks in Obamacare? Am I missing something?

Static21 on December 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The difference would be when the key survey cited by ABC News took place. Kaiser’s national poll took place in November, but ABC doesn’t reveal the dates or the survey size, or much of anything else about it except some allusions to the topline.

So it has zero meaning.

Sorry, Ed, but it seems to be a waste of a thread.

Bitter Clinger on December 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Happy to be a refusenik from any man-made disaster. Up yours Ojackass. I’ll happily die before I buy into this garbage.

Akzed on December 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Didn’t the Obama administration shoot themselves in the foot by first saying that children up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents healthcare plan? But, isn’t this part of a key demographic that the Prez needs to contribute help support older folks in Obamacare? Am I missing something?

Static21 on December 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The entire Obamacare mega disaster was created by the dumbest and most incompetent people in the country… Dumb people produce dumb products…

mnjg on December 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Quick explanation as to why ABC is full of shite and knows it.

California is not representative of anything but California. The demographics and the industries are exclusive to their makeup.

Sorry to tell ABC, but the anecdotal evidence of young adults, black and white, predominantly black, are more informed than I expected, and they’re all opting to pay the fine.

budfox on December 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Didn’t the Obama administration shoot themselves in the foot by first saying that children up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents healthcare plan? But, isn’t this part of a key demographic that the Prez needs to contribute help support older folks in Obamacare? Am I missing something?

Static21 on December 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

I never really understood that. It’s almost that they saw it as a popular sweetener to make the public like the law more but never thought through how it directly contradicts the end goal.

Bitter Clinger on December 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Didn’t the Obama administration shoot themselves in the foot by first saying that children up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents healthcare plan? But, isn’t this part of a key demographic that the Prez needs to contribute help support older folks in Obamacare? Am I missing something? Static21 on December 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The easily foreseeable negative consequences of any human behavior or action may fairly be considered goals.

Akzed on December 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Some 58 percent of California’s eligible uninsured (ages 18-34) said they planned to get health coverage–similar or higher than the older uninsured.

From a poll taken in August? Back in August, all the young liberal idiots (but I repeat myself) thought Obamacare would be like shopping at Amazon except that you wouldn’t even have to pay for it. What relevance do their delusional intentions have today?

Fabozz on December 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Some 58 percent of California’s eligible uninsured (ages 18-34) said they planned to get health coverage–similar or higher than the older uninsured.

And the all plan on owning a Bentley someday, and retiring to Oahu too.

Akzed on December 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM

“the political lens is the most important,” and the politics of younger Americans leans more toward participating. Or should that verb be leaned?
==========================================================================

Hopey is/was banking on healthy young bodies to rain in lootery to pay
for the Free HealthCare,…er,..”Affordable HealthCare”!!!!

Lol,…”Leaned”!!!!

canopfor on December 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM

MeanWhile,..please,…don’t comment, a heads up:

LIVE NOW: FCC

A busy day for Washington lawmakers, lobbyists, and policy experts:

The FCC will hold a meeting at 2:30pm ET in Washington. (agenda).

http://live.reuters.com/Event/Politics

canopfor on December 12, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Younger people are balking so far at paying exorbitant premiums for benefits they’ll never access just to subsidize the premiums of older and less healthy Americans.

I doubt many of these young healthy people are thinking beyond looking that the exorbitant premiums they are seeing. But the longer term view is even worse for them.

When they start having to pay, $400-$500 in a 2014 ‘tax’ for not paying those exorbitant premiums to subsidize older and less healthy Americans (or a $800-$1000 ‘tax’ in 2015), they are going to balk even more – most likely at the ballot box.

Athos on December 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Note: I’m still on leave until Monday, and I want to thank Hot Air readers for their many messages of support as we settle arrangements for my sister-in-law Mary’s passing.
======================

God-Bless ED, we will pipe you aboard at the next Port of Call———–:)

canopfor on December 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Some 58 percent of California’s eligible uninsured (ages 18-34) said they planned to get health coverage–similar or higher than the older uninsured.

CoveredCalifornia is as reticent as the Federal Government is regarding releasing detailed demographics over the registrations at their website. Like the Federal site, CC.com is also about 25-30% incomplete – with no payment processing capabilities to actually complete a purchase. Like the Feds, CC is also not being entirely forthright with telling us what percentage of those ‘enrolling’ are actually buying health insurance coverage and what percentage are signing up for the expanded MediCal / Medicare coverages.

They are quick to tell us that the percentage of ‘young enrollees’ are nearly identical to the percentage of the young in California’s population. But given the historical lack of detail and honesty from CoveredCalifornia, at best, we can assume that California’s exchange is not fairing any better than the Federal exchange.

In other words, it’s not working well here either…and the participants / partners in CoveredCalifornia are at real risk of adverse selection and a premium death spiral.

As others have noted, in August, before they could see the premiums, it was one thing to say one was interested in using the exchange. Once it was real – and the costs real – it’s an entirely different story.

Athos on December 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Note: I’m still on leave until Monday, and I want to thank Hot Air readers for their many messages of support as we settle arrangements for my sister-in-law Mary’s passing.
======================

Ed, prayers for your Family…

sandee on December 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Will Obamacare be repealed or won’t it? Will Congress fund it or won’t it? Will the web site be fixed or wont it? Blah, blah, blah. We the people just need to do what we need to do and Congress be damned. Resist. Refuse. Revolt. EXEMPT OURSELVES! We did not comply with Prohibition and we simply should not comply with Obamacare. For religious reasons. For privacy reasons. For the cause of liberty and freedom and in protest of the idea that the federal government (under one party rule, no less), can force private citizens to purchase anything with our own money. Are we citizens or subjects? Mice or men(women)? Just say NO to socialism and to the corrupt, unionized, far left IRS: the gestapo of America’s political class. And have no fear; after all, the federal government ignores millions of illegals who are breaking U.S. immigration law every day and nothing happens to them! Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. All we have to do is just say no to a scheme we all know is un-American and a violation of our most basic founding fundamentals of privacy, self reliance, limited government and individual freedom.
The Refusniks

devan95 on December 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The vast majority of the young uninsured who are saying they are going to buy Obamacare in a poll are simply lying…

mnjg on December 12, 2013 at 11:28 AM

The Healthcare Bradley Effect.

One other thing helps kill the sign ups: how many young adults who’d otherwise be in the market are parked in mom’s plan or dad’s plan until 26?

BuckeyeSam on December 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Younger people should sign up, if only to support Barack Obama and his health care plan. Seriously young people, now is the time that he really needs you. He’s taken care of birth control, abortions, and school loans, so now it’s pay back time. Sign up and try to pay right away, if the ObamaExchange is working today. Just because the penalty is only $95 and premiums are $100-200 per month is no reason not to sign up. It’s your patriotic duty and your duty to the leader of the free world. What’s more important, buying a new iPhone or supporting the President?

stefano1 on December 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

I’m a regular guy that went with and without health insurance during my career I can’t see how they think this will work. As a matter of fact I am so regular I have observed if I think it, probably 100 million people already thought of it too.

When I made enough money I paid for insurance. In the lean years I did not and kept a few dollars aside to pay for my family’s needs. There is no way I could have started my business with an edict to commit $10-12k off the money train in the early years. Heck I started on a credit card with $5k limit and two kids in college. I did it BECAUSE I had two kids in college. That’s another engineer and math/computer science career that a couple of kids from Houston wouldn’t have under today’s scenario.

And they graduated with no debt. The greatest achievement in our lives was putting productive, honest and wonderful people on a path to recreate the same things my wife and I enjoy. That opportunity is being destroyed by the democrat party. I truly am worried for the folks under 25. They have little in front of them right now.

DanMan on December 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

One other thing helps kill the sign ups: how many young adults who’d otherwise be in the market are parked in mom’s plan or dad’s plan until 26?

BuckeyeSam on December 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Not only this, but depending on how the poll question was worded, young people “signing up” (a nebulous term, at best) mean that they will now ask mom and dad to put them on their plan, where they hadn’t been before. Mom and dad weren’t forced to keep their expensive plans as empty nesters. They very well could have had the kids off the plans years ago, and only now might add them back on since the alternative is Johnny can’t buy a cheap plan or will owe taxes and forfeit his refund since he doesn’t know how to manage his withholding.

Think about this six-year demographic “signing up” to a parent’s plan and being claimed as a victory by Obamacare. Their premiums, if there are multiple dependents, are a net zero gain to the insurer premium pool, and only contribute to the death spiral. Plans typically cover single, single plus one, or family…they might contribute nothing by signing up, and only have to pay mom or dad a bit to cover some of the extra.

Or…like millions of Americans, mom or dad are on a federal, state plan or Medicaid plan, and “signing up” is only a net drain on America.

winoceros on December 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM

The California poll was conducted by Kaiser from July 11 through August 29, 2013.

I laughed out loud.
So let me understand this, the data was taken from a group that largely believed that coverage would be free or very cheap, a group that had been forced to see the reality of costs? LOL. Joke.

JusDreamin on December 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

One other thing helps kill the sign ups: how many young adults who’d otherwise be in the market are parked in mom’s plan or dad’s plan until 26?

BuckeyeSam on December 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM

This provision irks the hell out me in the Obamacare analysis. Too many pundits assume that anybody that is under 26 is still on the ‘rents plan. On The Five, whenever it comes up Bob Beckel claims that if you’re under 26 you’re covered by your parents plan.

That isn’t necessarily true. I don’t know how many of those under 26 are still covered this way but you can’t automatically look at a 24-year-old and assume that they are getting health insurance through a parent.

Happy Nomad on December 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Note: I’m still on leave until Monday, and I want to thank Hot Air readers for their many messages of support as we settle arrangements for my sister-in-law Mary’s passing.

Healing Beams from the Hot Gassers, Ed. What a difficult thing to go through at this time of year.

Del Dolemonte on December 12, 2013 at 1:04 PM

If I was healthy and between 18 and 25 years old, I would not be interested in signing up for health insurance that I would never use due to the fact that I would never reach the deductible. I know my parents would only have covered me on their policy if I paid the premium. We all knew this years ago when they passed this stupid law, so there has to be a hidden agenda such as single payer or the collapse of the system or…..(fill in the blank).

lea on December 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Dating themselves.

I dated myself, but I split up because I had nothing in common.

The Rogue Tomato on December 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Some 58 percent of California’s eligible uninsured (ages 18-34) said they planned to get health coverage–similar or higher than the older uninsured.

Of course more aged 18-34 plan to have insurance. Those 26 and younger will be on their parents plan, so they don’t care!

Show me the value for 27-34 year olds, then we’ll talk.

taznar on December 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Of course more aged 18-34 plan to have insurance. Those 26 and younger will be on their parents plan, so they don’t care!

Show me the value for 27-34 year olds, then we’ll talk.

taznar on December 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

This is exactly what I was thinking as well. The real people hurt by this are those around my age – late 20s and early 30s.

Illinidiva on December 12, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Planning to do something and doing something are two different things.

Ronnie on December 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Not only this, but depending on how the poll question was worded, young people “signing up” (a nebulous term, at best) mean that they will now ask mom and dad to put them on their plan, where they hadn’t been before. Mom and dad weren’t forced to keep their expensive plans as empty nesters. They very well could have had the kids off the plans years ago, and only now might add them back on since the alternative is Johnny can’t buy a cheap plan or will owe taxes and forfeit his refund since he doesn’t know how to manage his withholding.

Think about this six-year demographic “signing up” to a parent’s plan and being claimed as a victory by Obamacare. Their premiums, if there are multiple dependents, are a net zero gain to the insurer premium pool, and only contribute to the death spiral. Plans typically cover single, single plus one, or family…they might contribute nothing by signing up, and only have to pay mom or dad a bit to cover some of the extra.

winoceros on December 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Except last year my insurance co. made it a quite significant charge (penalty) to want ‘family’ coverage and dropped them (it was the last year they could be on my plan anyway).

TerryW on December 12, 2013 at 3:34 PM

It’s a very competitive market in my section of the Peoples Republic of California (PRoC). I have my choice of either Blue Shield Blue Cross or Blue Shield Blue Cross. My canceled “JUNK” policy was less than half of the premium of the new better 60/40 (old 80/20) policy and the best part is the new co-pays are four times more. No the best part is that my junk $3000 deductible is now a super great $6200 deductible.

When the kids actually go to the site instead of saying they are going, there will be very few policies actually purchased. The kids ain’t to smart but they know they would like to keep that $250/month or just light it on fire.

jukin3 on December 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Oh wait!!!

I forgot to mention that because in the PRoC Obama Care policy’s reimbursement will be just about equal to medical and 70% of the doctors are refusing to be in the cACA network.

jukin3 on December 12, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Can we say peer pressure? They are trying to guilt the younger crowd into buying their product. But then again, when doesn’t the Democrats and the media bully people to get their way?

djaymick on December 12, 2013 at 3:39 PM