Young adult enrollment in the ObamaCare exchanges will likely be only half of the first-year target at best, a bad sign for the health reform’s long-term health.
While sign-ups may pick up in the next few weeks, don’t expect a huge last-minute surge to make up the difference. The exchange plans’ high deductibles and loose individual mandate enforcement work against hopes that young, healthy Americans will meet the March 31 deadline.
Data through five months of the open-enrollment period show that slightly fewer than 10% of eligible 18- to 34-year-olds have signed up for coverage. Among young men, roughly 1 in 12 has signed up.
The Kaiser Family Foundation puts the ObamaCare-eligible population at 28.6 million, with 40%, or about 11.4 million, in the 18-to-34 age group.
Compared to the size of the potential market, the first-year target of 7 million enrollees, including about 2.8 million young adults, was relatively modest.