As Health Exchange Numbers Surge, Few Young Hoosiers Enroll

More than 30,000 Hoosiers have enrolled in health care plans through the federal exchange, but most of them are older adults who cost insurance companies more.

 healthcare.gov

Photo: Screenshot of healthcare.gov

More than 30,000 Hoosiers have signed up for plans under healthcare.gov

Just 21 percent of the Hoosiers who have enrolled in the federal health exchange are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to new data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released today.

Fifty-nine percent are between the ages of 45 and 64.

Chris Schrader, a health care expert who runs a human resources firm in Bloomington, says 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.

He estimates the percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds signing up needs to be closer to 35 percent by next year to make the exchange economically sustainable.

“If you still don’t move that number, for the insurance company the concern then moves from am I being made whole to should I even be here at all?” Schrader says. “And if I am going to be here, then I better raise my rates.”

Only four insurance companies are offering health insurance through the exchange in Indiana.

If they decide too few young Hoosiers are signing up, they could choose to pull out of the federal health exchange in Indiana, while continuing to offer coverage in other states.

The number of enrollments on the exchanged did increase from last month. More than 30,440 Hoosiers had enrolled by Dec. 28, according to the HHS report. That’s a surge from last month, when only 3,500 had enrolled as of Nov. 30.

Schrader warns, however, that not all of those people likely paid their premiums, meaning they still do not have coverage. Enrollees do not pay their premiums through Healthcare.gov and, instead, must pay the insurance companies directly.

The report also indicates that, of the Indiana enrollees, 56 percent are women.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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