Some 3.3 million people have signed up for health coverage on the new insurance exchanges through January --- with young people accounting for just about 27 percent of total enrollment.
That’s according to new figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services today.
Though HHS officials are touting the latest numbers as a success—and were quick to point out that enrollment of young Americans has grown by 65 percent in January--total enrollment and enrollment among young people are still below the administration’s targets.
The White House’s previous goal was to enroll about 7 million people before the March 31 deadline with young people accounting for about 40 percent of total enrollment. Officials have stressed the importance of signing up a sufficient mix of young and healthy people in order to offset the cost for older sicker Americans.
Though enrollment among this crucial group has been tepid, advocates and administration officials say they are counting on a crush of enrollments ahead of the March 31 deadline.
“We encouraged by the number of people who have enrolled in plans. We believe we are on track and we will continue to do aggressive outreach efforts so Americans know to sign up for coverage before March 31,” Julie Bataille, communications director for CMS, told reporters on a call Wednesday.
The data shows that, of the total enrollees, 1.9 million people have signed up through the federal exchange, while 1.4 million have enrolled through the state based marketplaces. The figures also reveal that more women are signing up than men--55 percent of enrollees are female.
To be sure, the administration has not indicated how many of these people have actually paid for their plans. The figures simply reflect who has selected a policy. One CNN survey of insurers conducted last month found that one in five people had not paid their premiums. Whether that is accurate is not clear.
Another important question the figures do not answer is how many of the new enrollees previously lacked health coverage. This is important since a key goal of the healthcare reform law was to extend access to coverage for the millions of uninsured Americans.
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