The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

January 14, 2014

Health care signups: More older Americans so far

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's an older, costlier crowd that's signing up so far for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law, according to government figures released Monday. Enrollments are lower for the healthy, younger Americans who will be needed to keep premiums from rising.

Young adults from 18 to 34 are only 24 percent of total enrollment, the administration said in its first signup figures broken down for age, gender and other details. With the HealthCare.gov website now working, the figures cover the more than 2 million Americans who had signed up for government-subsidized private insurance through the end of December in new federal and state markets.

Enrolling young and healthy people is important because they generally pay more into the system than they take out, subsidizing older adults. While 24 percent is not a bad start, say independent experts, it should be closer to 40 percent to help keep premiums down.

Adults ages 55-64 were the most heavily represented in the signups, accounting for 33 percent of the total. Overall, the premiums paid by people in that demographic don't fully cover their medical expenses. Some are in the waiting room for Medicare; that coverage starts at age 65.

Some questions remained unanswered.

For example, the administration is unable to say how of many of those enrolling for coverage had been previously uninsured. Some might have been among the more than 4.7 million insured people whose previous policies were canceled because they didn't meet the law's standards.

"The uninsured folks for whom the law was intended don't seem to have signed up in nearly as high numbers," said Richard Foster, a former statistics chief for the Health and Human Services department. "There is still a huge unknown aspect to this."

But even if the age mix remains tilted toward older adults, "it's nothing of the sort that would trigger instability in the system," said Larry Levitt, an insurance expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Premiums would go up next year for the overhaul, along with taxpayer costs per enrollee, but not enough to push the system into a "death spiral" in which rising premiums discourage healthy people from signing up.

Text Only
AP National
  • Obama urges immediate access to Ukraine crash site WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sternly called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Kremlin-backed separatists to stop hampering the probe at the Ukraine site of a downed passenger jet and allow international investigators unfettere

    July 22, 2014

  • American Jews, other 'lone soldiers' serve Israel JERUSALEM (AP) — The two Americans killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip followed in the footsteps of scores of Jews from around the world who have volunteered to fight for Israel. Israel calls them the lone soldiers: They are men and women in the pri

    July 22, 2014

  • 2008 law unexpectedly at center of border debate WASHINGTON (AP) — A 2008 law to address human trafficking is at the center of the debate over the immigration crisis at the nation's Southern border. The law was passed at a time when fewer than 10,000 unaccompanied minors showed up each year at the

    July 22, 2014

  • Lawmakers face long to-do list, uncertain success WASHINGTON (AP) — A gridlocked Congress failed to do the big things: overhauling the nation's immigration system, reforming the loophole-cluttered tax code and stiffening background checks on gun buyers. Now it's time to see whether it can just do th

    July 22, 2014

  • Detroit retirees back pension cuts by a landslide DETROIT (AP) — A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest

    July 22, 2014

  • Working-class whites lose voting dominance in Ohio COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — For the first time, working-class whites make up less than half of Ohio's eligible voters, part of a demographic shift in a key Midwestern swing state that is pushing political parties to widen their appeal beyond the once-domin

    July 22, 2014

  • Obama urges immediate access to Ukraine crash site WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sternly called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Kremlin-backed separatists to stop hampering the probe at the Ukraine site of a downed passenger jet and allow international investigators unfettere

    July 21, 2014

  • US outlines case against Russia on downed plane WASHINGTON (AP) — Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site. "A buildup of

    July 21, 2014

  • Florida town stunned by news of police KKK ties FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — Ann Hunnewell and her central Florida police officer husband knelt in the living room of a fellow officer's home, with pillow cases as makeshift hoods over their heads. A few words were spoken and they, along with a half-d

    July 21, 2014

  • Kerry returns to Mideast to push for cease-fire WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is making a renewed push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas with another trip to the Middle East after the civilian death toll in the conflict sharply escalated over the weekend. Kerry left

    July 21, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National