As the number of Americans enrolling in health insurance plans through the healthcare exchange websites across the country is increasing, the Obama Administration is still working to attract younger enrollees considered necessary for the new law to work.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a hearing before the House Wednesday that she believes younger, more "tech-savvy" individuals will start to enroll now that HealthCare.gov is running better, The Wall Street Journal reported
"We're seeing a lot of people re-engage," she said.
A program to reach young enrollees through social media is being launched Thursday by government officials and the outreach group Enroll America which will enlist the help of Hollywood celebrities.
As of Nov. 30, almost 365,000 individuals had signed up for private health insurance plans through one of the exchanges across the country. While these numbers are up significantly from October, there is still a ways to go before the goal of reaching seven million enrollees by March 31 is met.
The federal exchange website was plagued with glitches following its rollout on Oct. 1, and fewer than 27,000 Americans were able to sign up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov. One-hundred-thousand individuals signed up on the federally run exchange site by the end of November.
However, the fear of insurers and government officials is that those enrolling are older individuals with more medical needs, while younger individuals, who don't need medical attention as much will sit out.
The Administration has yet to release the demographic numbers on those who have enrolled, but the data released from states that are running their own exchange websites may offer an insight into this question.
In Washington, Kentucky, and California the enrollees in the 18-34 category hover around 20 percent to 25 percent and those in the 55 to 64 demographic make up more than a third of the total enrollees.
"It is about not only just the number of individuals, but at the end of the day, hopefully getting the right mix of individuals," Sebelius said.
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