Photo: Phil Hart (Flickr)
Fewer Hoosiers signed up for insurance under the federal health exchange in January than did in December.
U.S. Health and Human Services data released today shows more than 17,000 Hoosiers enrolled last month, down 35 percent from last month when more than 26,000 Hoosiers enrolled.
A total of 47,700 Indiana residents have signed up since the exchange went online in October.
Health care experts attributed December’s surge to the deadline the federal government set to receive insurance at the start of the New Year.
The next deadline is March 31. Most people who do not have health insurance by then will be required to pay a $95 penalty or 1 percent of their income on their federal taxes as mandated under the Affordable Care Act.
The penalty is capped at $285 per family for 2014, and if a person’s income is below the federal poverty level and lives in a state that chose not to expand Medicaid, he or she is exempt from the penalty.
The percentage of enrollees who are between the ages of 45 and 64 dropped slightly, but as of Feb. 1, 57 percent of those enrolled were still in that age range. Only 23 percent are between 18-34 years old.
That is important for health insurance providers because if not enough young people sign up, insurance companies will be paying out more for older people who are receiving a lot more medical care.