The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 20, 2014

Other Views: ‘Young healthies’ needed

— While overall enrollment in the insurance marketplaces designed under the Affordable Care Act was vigorous in December, more young and healthy consumers are needed to make the complex math of the health reform law add up.

About 2.2 million Americans have now enrolled in health coverage through the new insurance exchanges. That’s a welcome number, considering the badly bungled rollout of HealthCare.gov, the online federal marketplace. The website is working much more smoothly now for enrollees, although a couple of the state-based sites still have issues.

But more than half of the enrollees so far are in the 45- to-64-year-old age bracket. That group racks up higher medical costs than the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, which accounts for only about a fourth of the enrollment so far. Insurers say they need to have younger consumers in the pool to hold down the costs of policies.

The shortage so far of the “young healthies,” as they are called, isn’t necessarily a cause for panic. It makes sense that older people who depend on medical care would be the first to sign up. But more youthful consumers are needed before this year’s open enrollment period ends March 31.

Foes of “Obamacare” have targeted young people with unhelpful messages, urging them not to sign up for insurance and pay a fine instead.

Talk about bad advice.

Many young consumers will find they are eligible for subsidies, enabling them to buy insurance at surprisingly low rates. Those who choose to opt out will be subject to a tax penalty, and they’ll receive nothing for it. What they will receive is the full bill for any routine or emergency medical expense they may accrue. And a one-time trip to the emergency room — for a sprained ankle, say — can run into thousands of dollars.

Considerable confusion continues to swirl around the health care law. Health and community groups should step up efforts to educate people, especially young consumers, about the exchanges.

—The Kansas City Star

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Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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