The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released its latest ObamaCare enrollment numbers, and it is easy to see why the Obama administration has been so reluctant to reveal detailed enrollment data.
About 2.1 million Americans “enrolled” in the ObamaCare exchanges through Dec. 28. That number is far below the Obama administration’s impending goal of enrolling 3 million people by the end of December and 7 million by the end of March.
But the true number of people who have actually purchased insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges is even smaller. Instead of reporting on actual enrollments, the administration is, instead, reporting on the number of people who have put a health plan in their checkout cart, but haven’t actually checked out.
The distinction is important. As anyone who has ever shopped online knows, putting something in an online shopping cart is not the same thing as actually buying it. But the news gets worse.
The “young invincibles” – people ages 18 to 34 – make up just less than one-fourth of the “enrollments.” That is far short of the 38 percent target the administration needs to balance out the older and sicker patients in the insurance risk pool.
In Illinois, only 61,000 people had enrolled in ObamaCare exchanges through year’s end, with young invincibles making up about 23 percent of the enrollment. Federal officials had hoped to enroll more than 100,000 by year’s end and about 237,000 Illinoisans by the end of March.
The low enrollment level spells more ObamaCare trouble. First, premiums will skyrocket even higher in 2015 without a much larger share of young people in the ObamaCare exchanges. Second, the number of people losing their health insurance coverage in the individual and small group markets as a result of ObamaCare will likely leave Illinois with a higher uninsured rate.
ObamaCare was touted as an effort to dramatically expand health insurance coverage. It is, instead, a costly and damaging scheme for the entire health care system and the nation. The numbers show what many of us already knew: Americans, including young people, aren’t “buying” it.