Obamacare Lagging: Not Enough Young People Sign-UpBy: Val Powell - February 13, 2014
It has been four months since the Obama administration’s controversial health care reform law was officially rolled out and the number of enrollments among young people shows a steady increase. More popularly known as “Obamacare”, this provision of the law endeavors to provide health insurance coverage to American citizens who do not get health benefits from their employers as well as those who are neither elderly nor indigent. But while the enrollment numbers are going up, they make up only 25% of the total number of Obamacare enrollees, which is far from the 40% standard.
As of February 1, an estimated 3.3 million Americans have availed of marketplace health insurance plans via both the federal Obamacare website and state-based Obamacare micro-sites. Out of this total, 807,515 enrollees fall between the 18-34 age set, which is a substantial, albeit insufficient improvement over the December 2013 figures.
The government needs more young people to enroll in an insurance plan in order to fund coverage for the older demographic, who are bound to use their health insurance sooner. According to a report by the Health and Human Services, more than 80% of young enrollees are opting for premium insurance options rather than entry-level plans.
The Obamacare campaign experienced multiple struggles during the first couple of months of its implementation because of glitches in the federal website as well as unexplained cancellations of enrollees’ existing insurance policies. Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, this law is the most drastic revamp of the American healthcare system since 1965. Since it requires all American citizens to have health care coverage, the law offers subsidies and insurance exchanges, which aim to increase the affordability and quality of health insurance plans.
Americans can visit “marketplaces” – websites that contain plan options offered by various health insurance providers – to compare plans and decide on the type of coverage they want. Insurance companies are prohibited from turning down enrollees who have existing health issues and businesses with a full-time workforce of 51 or more are required to provide them with health coverage.
The Obama administration remains optimistic that the number of young enrollees will continue to grow in succeeding weeks. The enrollment process lasts six months and they expect the enrollments to pour in toward the end of that period.
Image via Healthcare.gov