Report: Initial Enrollees In California’s Online Health Insurance Trending Older

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Initial enrollees in California’s online health insurance marketplace are trending older, according to a report released Thursday that provides the first detailed look at those who are seeking policies under the Affordable Care Act.

The report from Covered California, which operates the exchange, says 30,830 people had enrolled in October, the first month of operation. The pace of enrollments has been accelerating since then.

About 56 percent of those were in the 45- to 64-year-old category. Just 23 percent were age 18 to 34, a younger and typically healthier demographic that insurers say they need to make the policies financially viable.

The numbers do not include those whose incomes are so low that they qualify for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said he expected older people to sign up in greater numbers during the early days of the exchange, as people with pre-existing conditions who had no previous insurance flocked to the site.

The proportion of those ages 45 to 64 signing up for health coverage on the exchange far outweighs their representation in California’s total population, which is 25 percent. The percentage of younger people enrolling for coverage is roughly proportional to their representation in the state’s population.

“We’re already seeing young people enroll in large numbers,” Lee said during Covered California’s board meeting.

Yet he did not say whether insurers and the exchange had a goal for the number of younger people they wanted to sign up.

Enrollees are defined as those who have selected an insurance policy but may not yet have actually paid for it.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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