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Young Obamacare enrollees lag original projections

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Halfway through the Obamacare open enrollment period, 2,153,421 people — about 24 percent of them ages 18 to 34 — have selected a plan, according to the administration.

Those figures fall below much-cited Congressional Budget Office projections from May that 7 million people, about 38 percent of them ages 18 to 34, would obtain coverage through the marketplaces by the March 31 close of open enrollment.

However, officials said, they are pleased with enrollment so far and expect that older and sicker people have signed up earlier and younger and healthier people are more likely to wait until toward the end. They also noted that the 18-34 age group represents about 26 percent of the total non-elderly U.S. population, so enrollment is tracking that closely, and that in December young adult enrollment was up more than eight-fold, compared to an overall five-fold increase in the same time.

The enrollment numbers still represent plans selected; asked how many people had completed enrollment by paying their first month’s premium, officials said they are still working with insurers on that process.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report said young people represent 40 percent of the potential market for Obamacare. If they represent only 25 percent of total enrollment, the report estimated, overall costs in individual market plans would be about 2.4 percent higher than premium revenues.

Officials also said that 79 percent of people who selected plans qualify for subsidies. Here are other details:

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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