New data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that more than 58,000 Georgians signed up for health insurance through the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange as of Dec. 28. That number, while modest, represents an increase of nearly tenfold in the peach state from the month before, according to the federal report released Monday.
The bump in enrollment reflects a more functional federal website as well as the looming deadline to apply for coverage that would begin Jan. 1, even though the Obama administration announced that it would extend the deadline to March 31 for most and a full year for anyone who lost their health insurance coverage.
Thirty percent of the Georgia enrollees are younger than age 35, a key statistic in determining whether the Affordable Care Act’s exchange will work, reports Georgia Health News.
Insurance experts say for the exchange to work and be economically viable for insurers, there must be enough young and healthy enrollees in the exchange to balance the risk from older and sicker enrollees. That bucks a trend nationwide where only 24 percent of those enrolling in the marketplaces through Dec. 28 were ages 18 to 34.
Nationally, around 1.8 million people had signed up for health insurance through the so-called Obamacare exchanges in December, nearly five times as many people as got coverage during the exchange’s first two months when the website suffered from a number of technical glitches and was the subject of almost unending ridicule.
With the latest numbers, the number of Americans who have received coverage through the federal exchange and state exchanges now sits at 2.2 million, according to the official enrollment numbers released Monday.
The Wall Street Journal reports that nationally one-third of health plan enrollees in new insurance marketplaces are 55 or older, the Obama administration said Monday, a figure that insurers said makes the pool older than they would need to sustain their coverage at current premiums.