|By Randy Tucker, Dayton Daily News, Ohio|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But the true success of the law will depend less on the final tally than on whether it can attract the right mix of old and young people necessary to control costs for insurers and hold down rates for consumers.
To remain viable, experts say, the new health insurance system needs a significant share of healthy young adults to sign up and pay premiums to offset the typically higher medical costs that insurers must cover for older Americans.
So far, only about a quarter of adults enrolled in health plans sold through state and federally run health care marketplaces are between the ages of 18 to 34, according to the latest figures from the
That's well below the
But some insurers have said the 40 percent is on the high end for what is necessary to balance the pool. And after a slow start -- largely attributable to computer glitches that stalled enrollment at HealthCare.gov, the government website for enrollment -- sign-ups among young people have begun to accelerate.
Young adults accounted for 27 percent of marketplace enrollment last month, which was three percentage points higher than the young adult share through the end of December, HHS reported.
Advocacy groups and others who have been helping to enroll students and other young people acknowledge they face an uphill battle to significantly boost the share of so-called "young invincibles," who rarely get sick and may believe they don't need health insurance.
"For a lot of people, regardless of age, health care is not a priority...and young people use health care less than anyone," said