Trend shows upswing in consumers under 35 among millions who signed up for coverage

Twice as many consumers under the age of 35 selecting plans this year as last, CMS says

Close to 6 million people selected plans through Healthcare.gov, a marked increase over last year when an estimated 3.4 million signed up, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Between Nov. 1, when open enrollment began, and Dec. 17, almost 6 million people signed up. Of those, 2.4 million are new consumers, compared to 1.8 million new consumers during the same period last year, CMS said.

Early consumer behavior and enrollment trends show there are twice as many consumers under the age of 35 selecting plans this year as last.

The younger and healthier demographic is necessary to keep the price of health plans affordable.

By December 17, about 2.1 million Healthcare.gov consumers under the age of 35 had enrolled, compared to 1.1 million the year before.

Those under 35 compose 35 percent of consumers this year, compared to 33 percent last year.

More young consumers under the age of 35 are also signing up for the first time: 980,000 this year compared to about 670,000 last year.

None of the figures for this year or last include individuals auto-enrolled for January 1 coverage, or those who made plan selections in the 13 state-based marketplaces that use their own technology platform.

While the deadline to enroll for coverage on January 1 ended on December 17, six weeks remain to select plans on the marketplace before the January 31 deadline.

Consumers who wanted coverage to start on January 1, originally needed to enroll by December 15. CMS extended the deadline to Dec. 17 for those in the 38 states that use Healthcare.gov, due to unprecedented consumer demand, it said.

Last year, open enrollment for 2015 coverage began on November 15 and ran through February 15.

By Susan Morse

Source: Healthcare Finance News – http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/trend-shows-upswing-consumers-under-35-among-millions-who-signed-coverage