WASHINGTON – Colorado’s young adults have been urged to sign up for health insurance plans in myriad commercials including the widely derided “Brosurance” ad, but enrollment in the state-based exchange increased only slightly last month.
Just 23 percent of those who signed up for a policy on Connect for Health Colorado are 18 to 34 years old, according to new numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The share of these “young invincibles” increased from 22 percent at the end of December but remains far behind the 33 percent figure that health officials imply is necessary to prevent insurance premiums from rising across the board.
Young adults are a prized demographic, partly because of a requirement in Obamacare that stipulates a 64 year old can pay no more than three times for a health plan than an 18 year old. With young adults more likely to be healthy and avoid using their insurance, they can hold costs down for older, sicker enrollees.
But the lagging percentage of young adults will challenge Colorado officials to recruit more into the state marketplace before the period ends March 31.
Connect for Health Colorado did not provide a statement about the new numbers.
Nationally, one-quarter of those who have enrolled in a health plan are young adults. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the uptick in enrollment among young adult an “encouraging trend (that) shows more Americans are enrolling every day, and finding quality, affordable care in the marketplace.”
Colorado’s figure was three percentage points lower than that in the other 14 states with their own exchange, because fewer 18 to 25 years have signed up. While 10 percent of enrollees in the other state-based exchanges are 18 to 25 years old, only 7 percent of Colorado’s are.
The slight increase in the share of young Coloradans mirrored that of the overall sign-up figures in the state-based marketplace. An additional 18,329 Coloradans enrolled in a health policy from January 1 to February 1. The figure is consistent with the 17,000-a-month average from October to December.
It brings the total number of individuals who have signed up for a plan on Connect for Health Colorado to 68,454.
Racial and ethnic data were not provided. The number of individuals who have not only signed up for a health policy but also paid for the premium was also unavailable.