Obamacare needs young people to sign up. And it looks like they’re starting.

October 11, 2013

The White House has made abundantly clear that the Affordable Care Act's success depends largely on getting young, healthy people to sign up for health coverage.

This demographic is important -- and also thought to be an especially tough sell. Young adults tend to have lower health-care costs and would be less likely to use their health plan. Paying a monthly premium when you don't expect to get sick doesn't sound like the greatest deal.

That's what makes some early health law data surprising: A few signs are cropping up that, at least initially, young people have been among the more enthusiastic Affordable Care Act shoppers.

Access Health CT, Connecticut's marketplace, said earlier this week that approximately one-third of the people who have so far applied for coverage there are under 35. This would hover around the administration's goal of having 2.7 million of the 7 million estimated new enrollees be between 18 and 35.


Maryland put out new data Friday afternoon on the 25,000 people who have so far created accounts on its marketplace. The biggest demographic? Shoppers between 25 and 29.

All of this comes with the caveat that we are exactly 12 days into a six-month open enrollment period, with a small slice of data about what insurance shoppers will look like. It's quite possible that younger, more Internet-adept shoppers would be over-represented in early data.

Still, early numbers do suggest at least some level of interest from young shoppers does indeed exist as open enrollment gets underway.

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Ezra Klein · October 11, 2013