Enough young adults signed up for ACA to prevent “death spiral”

getcovered_mom_share_0Gail Wilensky, PhD, an economist and Senior Fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation, wrote a blog today that sheds light on just who has signed up for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This ran in the JAMA Forum, a team of leading health economists, health policy experts and legal scholars who to provide expert commentary and insight.

One statistic stood out that calms concerns that not enough young people have signed up. A number of news stories addressed that question. An excerpt from her blog is below; link to the rest of the post here:

“Two important pieces of information have recently emerged about the 2.2 million individuals who signed up by the end of 2013.

First, slightly less than 25% of these enrollees are in the 18- to 35-year age range. The Obama Administration hopes that by the end of March, when the enrollment period ends, 38% to 40% of all enrollees will be in this age group. More than half of the people who signed up by the end of 2013 are aged 45 to 64 years, an age group that tends to be sicker and more expensive to cover than younger adults.

The administration has said that even with relatively fewer younger enrollees than had been hoped for, there are enough younger people already signed up to prevent an insurance premium “death spiral”—an increase in rates (causing fewer people to sign up for insurance) that can occur if sicker individuals enroll in disproportionate numbers.”

Leave a Comment