Nearly 30 percent of Georgians who signed up for insurance exchange coverage for 2016 are ages 18 to 34, a higher percentage than the... Georgia exchange getting healthy number of young adults

Nearly 30 percent of Georgians who signed up for insurance exchange coverage for 2016 are ages 18 to 34, a higher percentage than the national average.

That age group is the one most desired by insurers, because young adults tend to be healthier. Their presence on the rolls helps offset the risk of insuring older Americans, who generally have more medical conditions and require more treatment.

Nationally, 26 percent of those signing up for coverage in the 38 states where the federal government runs the exchange are 18 to 34. The Georgia percentage is 29 percent.

As of Dec. 26, 511,826 Georgians had been signed up for coverage to take effect this year.

HealthCare.gov Stock imageryFederal officials provided a breakdown on the sign-ups in a report released Thursday.

Overall, 11.3 million have been enrolled for coverage during the open enrollment period, including 8.6 million in the 38 states that use the feds’ exchange.

The release of the enrollment figures coincided with congressional passage of a bill that would gut the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proclaimed with House passage of the bill this week: “We are confronting the president with the hard, honest truth: Obamacare doesn’t work.”

But as expected, President Obama vetoed the bill Friday.

Republicans, who generally oppose the ACA, control both chambers of Congress, but they don’t have the votes to override a presidential veto.

Other Georgia enrollment data released by the feds Thursday included:

** 85 percent of those signed up qualified for a subsidy, or tax credit, that lowers the cost of coverage.

**  77 percent signed up for a Silver plan, and 16 percent enrolled in a Bronze plan.

** More than 42,000 Georgians were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or PeachCare, the program for uninsured children.

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

Open enrollment concludes Jan. 31.

The New York Times reported that Andrew Slavitt, the acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that in the days remaining before the deadline, he expected to see “a rush of younger people, who are much more procrastinators.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the national 26 percent figure of young adults was similar to that of a comparable two-month enrollment period a year ago.

The final tally of young adults seems most likely to fall below the 35 percent level that Kevin Counihan, the chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, said was considered “a good optimal number” when he ran the state insurance exchange in Connecticut, the Times reported.


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Andy Miller

Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News

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