For Obamacare Enrollment, Devil's in the Details
WASHINGTON -- With the deadline to sign up for Obamacare just days away, the White House announced another extension in hopes of boosting enrollment, particularly among young people.
Thanks to a provision in the health care law, however, millennials like 20-year-old Thomas Lloyd won't be worrying about health insurance for a long time.
"I'm covered under my parent's insurance until I'm 26," Lloyd said.
That provision is just one reason members of the millennial generation aren't signing up for Obamacare in the numbers the administration needs.
Millions under the age of 27 are covered under their parents' plans, so they don't need to enroll in Obamacare. How has that affected the government's projected enrollment numbers? Patrice Lee of Generation Opportunity, answers this and more, on CBN Newswatch, March 27.
Consequently, in what was supposed to be the final days of open enrollment, the administration put on a March Madness full court press on millennials.
From online comedy shows to sports radio, the president has been working overtime to win over young people.
"To get them engaged in healthcare you really have to convince them that this is important for their health well-being but also their financial well-being," Daniel Cox, with the Public Religion Research Institute, told CBN News.
Remember, millenials helped put the president in the White House. Also, Cox's research shows young people support a strong role of government, even government-sponsored healthcare.
Still, the latest numbers reveal only about a quarter of those enrolled in Obamacare are between the ages of 18-34.
"The people least likely to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act are young men who are low-income and non-white, and now these folks tend to be Obama's strongest supporters," Cox noted.
"So, when we look for reasons I think that points less to the political reason and more to an economic reason," he explained.
It's the economics of the Affordable Care Act that has the White House courting millennials so aggressively.
For Obamacare to work, 40 percent of the people who sign up need to be young and healthy. That will help offset costs of the older and sick applicants sure to dominate the health exchange pools.
"So the financial outlook is very, very bad for people who are enrolled in the exchanges if they do not get a sufficient number of young people," Bob Moffit, a health care expert with the Heritage Foundation, told CBN News.
Moffit explained that since emergency rooms are required to treat everyone, young healthy people have little incentive to join, and in many cases, they can't afford it even if they wanted to.
"On 17 different occasions the president said that the country would experience a reduction in health insurance premiums and that American families typically would see a $2,500 deduction on an annual basis," he said.
"None of this appears to be coming true," he continued. "We're looking at much higher deductibles and much higher premiums."
Those sums will be even higher if more healthy young people don't sign up. The White House hopes extending the enrollment deadline will make up for lost time.
"There's no question we got off to a really bad start and that was on us," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
But critics say the change in deadline is just the latest in a long line of examples of how the law is in disarray.