Uh oh: Just 24% of ObamaCare sign-ups so far are young adults

posted at 5:21 pm on January 13, 2014 by Allahpundit

HHS was aiming for … 39 percent, notes Philip Klein. As you know, the fewer “young healthies” there are on the exchanges to subsidize expensive treatments for sick people with their premium dollars, the less sustainable those exchanges become. HHS has two and a half months left to hit its target, but as Klein notes, if you assume five million total enrollments by March 31st, fully half at this point would need to come from young adults to hit the 39 percent threshold.

Which is to say, your premiums are probably going up next year. But you knew that.

People signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federal and state marketplaces tend to be older and potentially less healthy, officials said Monday, a demographic mix that could cause premiums to rise in the future if the pattern persists…

“We’re pleased to see such a strong response and heavy demand,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services. “Among young adults, the momentum was particularly strong.”

Officials for the first time released basic demographic information about the people signing up for insurance. Of those who signed up in the first three months, 55 percent are age 45 to 64, officials said. Only 24 percent of those choosing a health insurance plan are 18 to 34, a group that is usually healthier and needs fewer costly medical services. People 55 to 64 – just below the age at which people qualify for Medicare — represented the largest group, at 33 percent.

No surprise, really. Humana, an insurance giant, warned last week that it “expects the risk mix of members enrolling through the health insurance exchanges to be more adverse than previously expected.” If their numbers are tilting old and sick, everyone else’s must be too. Two obvious caveats, though. One: There’s every reason to expect a crush of enrollments from young adults before the March 31st deadline. Most sick people will have already signed up by then and there’ll be renewed media coverage about the mandate penalty in the weeks approaching deadline. As word trickles out through the mostly ignorant target population, some chunk of young adults will respond by signing up at the last minute. The demographic mix will get better. So much better as to hit 39 percent, though? Two: According to experts, missing HHS’s target of 39 percent enrollment by “young healthiest” wouldn’t be a total disaster. According to Kaiser, a 25 percent enrollment rate would drive costs up for insurers by 2.5 percent but would still give them a narrow profit margin. (Another expert thinks costs would increase 3.5 percent under that scenario, which means insurers really need something closer to 30 percent enrollment by young adults.) That’s bad news for you and me, since we know who’ll be on the hook for those costs, but nothing so dangerous to the industry that it would jeopardize its stability.

Bob Laszewski, meanwhile, takes a long-term approach to this problem. The important number isn’t enrollment as of March 31st, he says, it’s enrollment as of, say, 2016. That’s when the “risk corridor” (i.e. bailout) provisions of O-Care sunset and that’s when we’ll really know if the law’s sustainable without federal largesse.

I think we’re going to ultimately need about 20 million people for a sustainable pool. It doesn’t need to be this year. That’s what the transitional risk corridors are all about. But it needs to happen in the first few years. So when I hear people talk about the goal being seven million, I think, “time out.” This needs to be 20 million people within three years.

The problem with the enrollments today is that they’re so small, it’s less than 10 percent of the uninsured coming in, it really can’t be anything but sick people. So if it’s going to be sustainable you need loads of people coming in the door. So when I judge where Obamacare is on December 31st or March 31st, I want to have confidence that this thing is ramping up to 20 million. I want to see momentum.

They’ve signed up a little more than 500,000 young adults so far. If Laszewski’s right about a pool of 20 million uninsured to make this thing float, that means the feds need more than seven million more “young healthies” over the next three years. He thinks the individual mandate has been so weakened that it’s destined for waiver or repeal, but I don’t know: The more desperate the White House gets for young adults to sign up, the more it’s going to want that mandate bludgeon to keep the pressure on them to sign up. (The mandate penalty becomes considerably more expensive starting next year, remember.) There’s no political class in America that can be taken for granted as easily as young voters. Why do them a favor by lifting the mandate?

Another good question:

As of Thursday, Laszewski was hearing from industry sources that only 50 percent of new enrollees have paid so far. It’s true that some insurers have pushed their payment deadlines back to the end of the month to give people more time, but not all have — and if we’re still at 50 percent a third of the way through, how many can we reasonably expect will make good on their first month’s premium by the end of the month, realistically? Maybe 85 percent? 90? If the latter, we’re talking about more than 200,000 people nationally who’ll have missed the payment deadline, which means insurers will then have to decide whether to extend the payment deadline into February(!) or start canceling coverage for new customers they’d much rather keep. And all of that is on top of sorting through glitchy applicant data from Healthcare.gov, which Laszewski estimates still represents roughly five percent of total online applications. January’s going to be a long month.


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I don’t even buy that number. I will wager most of them have no intention of making the first payment.

rob verdi on January 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

If the BS numbers are this bad, I’d hate to see the real ones.

forest on January 13, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Young people want to live. Not sign up for a program whose faces are the King of Liars and the Queen of Death!

22044 on January 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM

So 1/2
of 1/2
of 1/2
of 1/2
of 1% of the population.
 
Ha.
 
(Thanks again for the link/numbers, libfreeordie.)

rogerb on January 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM

the ‘death spiral’ has already begun. As for “the mandate” – a law to take money from you, but no real teeth to do so.

Yeah, that’s going to be a real threat!

GarandFan on January 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Somehow the ghost of libby gets conjured on these threads. A lot.

22044 on January 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

(The mandate penalty becomes considerably more expensive starting next year, remember.)

Does anyone know what the “penalty” is going up to next year? I’m genuinely curious. I can’t get my head around this monstrosity.

WhatSlushfund on January 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

No bailouts.

Robert_Paulson on January 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

I have to say that even that percentage makes me unhappy.

Cindy Munford on January 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Robert_Paulson on January 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

It’s the law of the land, unless The Won says it isn’t but in this case it will be.

Cindy Munford on January 13, 2014 at 5:32 PM

…and we haven’t gotten to the employer mandate.

Tater Salad on January 13, 2014 at 5:33 PM

I don’t even buy that number. I will wager most of them have no intention of making the first payment.

rob verdi on January 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

No kidding. My thoughts exactly.

Plus, where are they going to get the money? A young person give up social life spending for something they’ll never use? Give me a break.

Lanceman on January 13, 2014 at 5:33 PM

“Young” is not the same as “young healthy”.

jdpaz on January 13, 2014 at 5:35 PM

They’ve signed up a little more than 500,000 young adults so far. If Laszewski’s right about a pool of 20 million uninsured to make this thing float, that means the feds need more than seven million more “young healthies” over the next three years.

Just because someone is young doesn’t mean that he is healthy. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the young morons who signed up for BarkyCare are riddled with disease, if not outright fruitcakes who will be scarfing down enough anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and so much clinical head work to eat up all their premiums in no time.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 13, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Lies and more lies by the lying liars that lie. I would not believe this tyrannical regime if they told me the sun was hot.

rottenrobbie on January 13, 2014 at 5:36 PM

jdpaz on January 13, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Beat me by thaaat much :)

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 13, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Obama has an extension or a waiver for that.

albill on January 13, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Much wealth, opportunity, and liberty to be destroyed yet.

Murphy9 on January 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Beat me by thaaat much :)

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 13, 2014 at 5:36 PM

You need to learn the law of the interwebz — it’s more important to be first than interesting.

jdpaz on January 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I don’t even buy that number. I will wager most of them have no intention of making the first payment.

rob verdi on January 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Much less the 6th,7th, 8th ………..

rik on January 13, 2014 at 5:44 PM

My guess is even the 24% is complete BS. I mean c’mon, are broke young people going to sign up for insurance they don’t need and can’t afford so old sick people can get a break?

This was designed to fail.

mitchellvii on January 13, 2014 at 5:49 PM

…and you know…they are lying!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2014 at 5:49 PM

What is unemployment in this demographic?

30%?

Murphy9 on January 13, 2014 at 5:50 PM

As word trickles out through the mostly ignorant target population, some chunk of young adults will respond by signing up at the last minute. The demographic mix will get better.

I respectfully disagree. Youth unemployment is around 25%. No jobs. Degrees in Womynz Studies and Gender Identity only work if you want to be employed as a drive thru worker.

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Much wealth, opportunity, and liberty to be destroyed yet.

no kidding Murph9…when my kids were kids we were being hit from all sides. School candy sales, raffles, Little League dues, almost always at least one car note and a food bill from heck. Toss in the occasional broken arm, braces and so on and it was real money!

Now they are supposed to throw a car note size insurance premium that better have a good savings account behind it by law?

DanMan on January 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

So some old sick people on Obamacare, to be paid for by the 24% of young people that signed up for Medicaid.

Hey, when will you wealthy younger types get over here and let yourselves be robbed already? Oh wait, you don’t exist because nobody can get employed, let alone wealthy under this economy? Well crap. Guess we’ll have to phony up some more numbers.

Gingotts on January 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Media not reporting the most important part – it’s not the young, stupid, it’s all the healthy who’re NOT signing up, at any age…beyond kindergarten.

Schadenfreude on January 13, 2014 at 5:53 PM

B.S. figure, as usual, from the L.I.P. squad (Liars In Power).

Probably more like 2.4%.

And you can bet that half of those applications are invalid, incompletely filled out, unqualified, or glitched.

profitsbeard on January 13, 2014 at 5:54 PM

As word trickles out through the mostly ignorant target population, some chunk of young adults will respond by signing up at the last minute. The demographic mix will get better.

I respectfully disagree. Youth unemployment is around 25%. No jobs. Degrees in Womynz Studies and Gender Identity only work if you want to be employed as a drive thru worker.

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

The degrees in business and engineering aren’t even helping as much as they once did. You’ve got it right. The government had better hope the younger demographic don’t panic and sign up in a rush. Just more Medicaid enrollments to be found there.

Gingotts on January 13, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Officials for the first time released basic demographic information about the people signing up for insurance. Of those who signed up in the first three months, 55 percent are age 45 to 64, officials said. Only 24 percent of those choosing a health insurance plan are 18 to 34, a group that is usually healthier and needs fewer costly medical services. People 55 to 64 – just below the age at which people qualify for Medicare — represented the largest group, at 33 percent.


Caught you propagating the MSM disinformation meme, again!

Let’s take it apart from the top down, ok AP?

Obamacare speak: Signing up = paying for insurance

Real world: Signing up INCLUDES those who will walk away from this BAD deal

In retail markets, walkways > 80% – but let’s be generous and say it’s only 50% on average for Obamacare through March 31st.

Next up – the “young invincibles” myth – 100% of the people between 18 – 34 are NOT healthy ALL the time. Some of them have serious medical issues related to drug and substance abuse – they can actaully be a source of UNANTICIPATED costs – look up unanticipated, it’s not that far in the dictionary from the word made famous by the SCOAMF administration – UNEXPECTED.

Now for some homework, AP

Do some research on which demographic has the worst record in terms of meeting regularly scheduled “budget” items. (Note: demographic is not synonymous with credit score)

PolAgnostic on January 13, 2014 at 5:54 PM

jdpaz on January 13, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Oh, good point. Or employed, they may all be eligible for subsidizes.

Cindy Munford on January 13, 2014 at 5:56 PM

which means insurers will then have to decide whether to extend the payment deadline into February(!) or start canceling coverage for new customers they’d much rather keep

There are very strict rules for insurers who wish to cancel for non payment. Of course, these rules are enforced by the States’ Insurance Commissioners. Not by Obama. Yet.

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 5:57 PM

There’s a big misconception that this is about young people. That’s baloney. It’s about healthy people. A healthy 20-year-old might only pay a $100 premium. You want healthy 40 and 50-year-olds. The big problem right now is really total enrollment. We only have about 10 percent of the uninsured in here. Insurers think you need more like 70 percent of a pool of people to sign up.

The problem with the enrollments today is that they’re so small, it’s less than 10 percent of the uninsured coming in, it really can’t be anything but sick people. So if it’s going to be sustainable you need loads of people coming in the door. So when I judge where Obamacare is on December 31st or March 31st, I want to have confidence that this thing is ramping up to 20 million. I want to see momentum.

Socratease on January 13, 2014 at 5:57 PM

almost as much as the democratic party, i hope the kaiser foundation feels some major pain over obamacare. they’ve been a close number two behind The One himself for BS cheerleading and outright lying about this crap sandwich.

deepelemblues on January 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM

almost as much as the democratic party, i hope the kaiser foundation feels some major pain over obamacare. they’ve been a close number two behind The One himself for BS cheerleading and outright lying about this crap sandwich.

deepelemblues on January 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Errr. Do you have a link or a source for this allegation?

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

They’ve signed up a little more than 500,000 young adults so far.

Let’s put this into perspective. 500K is less than the number of people who stopped looking for employment last month. I wonder who is paying the insurance on those who gave up finding work.

Happy Nomad on January 13, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Media not reporting the most important part – it’s not the young, stupid, it’s all the healthy who’re NOT signing up, at any age…beyond kindergarten.

Schadenfreude on January 13, 2014 at 5:53 PM

I’m glad somebody is preceptive enough to understand this.

Good call.

MichaelGabriel on January 13, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Which is to say, your premiums are probably going up next year. But you knew that.

Our family-plan premiums are already going up, and we get our insurance through my wife’s tribe, who are supposed to be “exempt” from the consequences of ObamaDOESN’TCare.

Sterling Holobyte on January 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

I wonder who is paying the insurance on those who gave up finding work.

Happy Nomad on January 13, 2014 at 6:03 PM

You are paying, my dear. You’re so generous and thoughtful…. Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluck thank you for your contribution!

/::::ducking::::

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Errr. Do you have a link or a source for this allegation?

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Here’s a taste.

They also provided the dubious polling for the meme of “Well, the law as a whole might not be that popular, but most of the individual elements of it are”.

They polled the individual pie in the sky claims being made by Obama without mentioning any of the costs of trade offs in reduced freedom. It’s a dishonest way to poll issues. You could poll the VW Bug, the Autobahn and reduced unemployment to try to make Hitler look popular too.

forest on January 13, 2014 at 6:10 PM

forest on January 13, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Thanks for this…. Interesting, considering all this “bailout” talk.

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Do some research on which demographic has the worst record in terms of meeting regularly scheduled “budget” items. (Note: demographic is not synonymous with credit score)

PolAgnostic on January 13, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Yep, and look at priority among those regularly scheduled “budget” items:

Rent/Housing – Younger types, paycheck to paycheck, so most likely rent. Can’t let that slide at all or your crap is thrown out on the street.

Car – Need that to get places.

Electric – That crap ain’t cheap, and it’s what makes the TV go. Let that bill climb over $500 and stuff gets shut off.

Internet – Gotta.

Food – Need that too.

Insurance, car – Well that one has teeth doesn’t it? State says you can’t use the thing unless it’s insured, and for reasonable drivers a Geico plan isn’t all that crazy expensive. Yeah, that gets paid on time.

Insurance, crap medical coverage that isn’t even needed – LOL, nope. Even if it is only $100 (it won’t be), screw it. Thief comes out for the PS4 in February, the new Infamous in March, Watch Dogs has to be released sometime…

Gingotts on January 13, 2014 at 6:13 PM

ObamaCare is a living night mare. FUBARD on so many levels.

SparkPlug on January 13, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Oh and John Roberts is a pedophile.

SparkPlug on January 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

You are paying, my dear. You’re so generous and thoughtful…. Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluck thank you for your contribution!

/::::ducking::::

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 6:10 PM

What can I say, I’m a giver. ;0

Seriously though, do you really want to live in an America where a self-important law school graduate or a woman who gets naked in front of a camera for a living have to pay for their own vacuum erection systems?

Happy Nomad on January 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Insurance, crap medical coverage that isn’t even needed – LOL, nope. Even if it is only $100 (it won’t be), screw it. Thief comes out for the PS4 in February, the new Infamous in March, Watch Dogs has to be released sometime…

Gingotts on January 13, 2014 at 6:13 PM


Excellent blend in of the graphic!

PolAgnostic on January 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Gingotts on January 13, 2014 at 6:13 PM

You shudup or something! Libdie will be along shortly with NUMBERS showing young people signing up in droves and staying sick rather than visit the doctor/hospital out of a sense of patriotism!

Lanceman on January 13, 2014 at 6:19 PM

There’s every reason to expect a crush of enrollments from young adults before the March 31st deadline.

Yeah, not so much. Those that can will stay on their parents insurance, those that are unemployed will categorically not sign up, and the rest will evaluate whether they want to devote a staggeringly high percentage of their earnings to it rather than pay the fine. Or gamble they wont have to pay the fine, because Obama’s been waiving everything else and may just waive that, too.

Midas on January 13, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Happy Nomad on January 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Why, of course! For the good of the “collective” and all dat chit.

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

The more desperate the White House gets for young adults to sign up, the more it’s going to want that mandate bludgeon to keep the pressure on them to sign up. (The mandate penalty becomes considerably more expensive starting next year, remember.)

So what. There’s no enforcement mechanism for the penalty unless you’re getting a tax return. Otherwise, there’s no civil or criminal liability for not paying.

They cannot make you pay. And once young folks figure that out, it’s over for OCare.

BacaDog on January 13, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Which is to say, your premiums are probably going up next year.

And your government will be bailing the Insurance companies out this year.

kcewa on January 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM

They cannot make you pay. And once young folks figure that out, it’s over for OCare.

BacaDog on January 13, 2014 at 6:38 PM

1099

Key West Reader on January 13, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Just issue and executive order making it a crime to not sign up. Then levy a fee of 5000 dollars and six months in jail. That’s all obummer has to do.

jake49 on January 13, 2014 at 7:08 PM

And 90% of the 24% have major pre-existing conditions!

Chuck Schick on January 13, 2014 at 7:52 PM

As for “the mandate” – a law to take money from you, but no real teeth to do so.

Yeah, that’s going to be a real threat!

GarandFan on January 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Don’t kid yourself. It’s only toothless because that was necessary to get this abomination passed. Soon enough, they’ll pass another bill that includes aggressive collection techniques and allowances.

Or Ojerkstore will just decree something.

Either way, they’ll find some way to collect those “taxes.” Thanks, John Roberts!

Kensington on January 13, 2014 at 9:26 PM

I have to say that even that percentage makes me unhappy.

Cindy Munford on January 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Me, too! I’ve been hoping for much lower compliance numbers — whatever it takes for this thing to sink.

Kensington on January 13, 2014 at 9:28 PM

But the young have to pay off those $100,000 student loans for their degrees in womyn’s studies and cultural studies.

Dhuka on January 14, 2014 at 1:19 AM

It will be alright, those 24% all have chronic but preventable illnesses.

burt on January 14, 2014 at 8:40 AM

The more desperate the White House gets for young adults to sign up, the more it’s going to want that mandate bludgeon to keep the pressure on them to sign up. (The mandate penalty becomes considerably more expensive starting next year, remember.) There’s no political class in America that can be taken for granted as easily as young voters. Why do them a favor by lifting the mandate?

Good.

Let the little morons feel the boot of their wonderful, benevolent, hopey-changey government on their necks and in their wallets.

Looks like they need to learn the hard way.

Good Lt on January 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Two things: are they counting “covered under obamacare enrolled primary account holders” or “enrollees who have dependents”? Those are two different things. In old-fashioned group plans, a la two months ago, the premiums are 1, 1+1, or 1+any number of dependents. The only extra expense might be individual deductibles tucked inside an overall max out-of-pocket. A 24-yo signing up to cover himself and/or his dependents is not the same premium as a 24-year old on mommy’s plan so she can get her ADD meds and free birth control and her annual.
The group they are hoping for is really 27-30…more premiums and no dependents. Too small to make a difference but it’s liberal math where hope is an assumed variable.

Second, I had a woman at the pharmacy picking up her college-attending daughter’s birth-control. There was no copay, and she said with relief, “thank you, Obama, for letting us have our daughter on our insurance!” I said “Yes, before that, the limit was age 25 instead of 26.” She just stared and said “I didn’t know that.”

Don’t worry, sweetie, all your insurance copays and base prices for medication have increased to cover all that “free” ADD medication and birth control. You, for example, now have the maternity coverage at age 52 that you always wanted. Enjoy. They are getting it if you explain it to them.

winoceros on January 14, 2014 at 12:37 PM