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Young adults warm up to Obamacare


By: Crissinda Ponder

The Americans most coveted by proponents of the Affordable Care Act no longer seem to be dragging their feet on health insurance.

In the Obamacare health exchanges, enrollment by young adults — those between the ages of 18 and 34 — grew by 65 percent during January, a much faster pace than for all other age groups combined, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

Good vital sign for the insurance pool

Insurers want good numbers of younger and presumably healthier consumers in the insurance pool to help keep it balanced.

“We are thrilled to see young adult enrollment rates continue to increase and expect this trend will continue as more learn that they can get help paying for their insurance and work with in-person enrollment assisters,” Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of advocacy group Young Invincibles, said in a statement.

Most young adults choosing a marketplace plan picked a mid-priced silver plan or higher.

A big month all around

The latest Obamacare numbers also show that overall enrollment increased by 53 percent during January, the fourth month of the open enrollment period. Other findings include:

  • Nearly a third of those who selected plans between Oct. 1 and Feb. 1 were age 34 and younger.
  • In January alone, 27 percent who signed up for coverage were between ages 18 and 34.
  • 82 percent of those who selected a plan during that period will receive tax credits to lower the cost of their premium.

“These encouraging trends show that more Americans are enrolling every day, and finding quality, affordable coverage in the Marketplace,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

A total of about 3.3 million Americans have enrolled in a health plan through the Obamacare exchanges since open enrollment began Oct. 1. Another 3.2 million were deemed eligible for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Obama administration said.

What are your thoughts on the latest figures? Will Obamacare reach 6 million enrollees by March 31, when the enrollment period ends?