By Jonathan Easley - 03/31/14 12:28 PM EDT
The average age of people enrolling in insurance through ObamaCare is on the decline as younger consumers flock to the exchanges, according to insurance executives interviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper spoke with representatives from a handful of health plans, all of whom said they had seen a “marked increase” in young enrollees and noted that the demographic was among the fastest-growing segment of those seeking coverage.
Still, some executives said the average age remained higher than they had anticipated.
The exchanges need healthy consumers, who tend to skew younger, to enroll for a balanced risk pool that keeps premiums from spiking next year.
The Obama administration announced in January that only 24 percent of enrollees fell in the critical 18- to 34-year-old age group of "young invincibles," well below the 40 percent benchmark set by the Congressional Budget Office.
Older people, who are typically more expensive to cover, made up the largest group of enrollees.
The administration has made young invincibles the primary target of their late marketing surge for the healthcare law and has long said it expects young people will wait until near the enrollment deadline to sign up.
The administration says it has seen a record number of people on HealthCare.gov in the run-up to Monday’s deadline. It appears that the original goal of 7 million enrollees by March 31 is within reach, but it will be some time before insurers know the overall demographic breakdown.