SHOCK: Enrollees discover Obamacare not free



Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans received devastating news this week: insurance under Obamacare is not free. The bungled rollout of Obamacare and the website continued this past week with an additional speed bump, Americans who have signed up for insurance under Obamacare but have not yet paid their first month’s premium threaten to reduce the already-disappointing number of Obamacare enrollees. Paying this premium is necessary for the full activation of coverage under the government insurance program, meaning that around 500,000 Americans have already received cancellation calls/letters.

It is uncertain how this will affect Obamacare’s financial viability. As of January 15, only 24 percent of individuals signed up for the healthcare program were 18-34 year-olds. This presents a major problem for the healthcare law because the program relies on the fact that there will be enough young people who will pay premiums, not use the coverage, and support the elderly and sick who will derive more benefit from the system. The administration’s goal is to have a full 40 percent of Obamacare participants in the 18-34 age group by March 31, the end of the enrollment period. Numbers have not yet come out as to whether those who signed up but have not paid their premiums are concentrated in any age group, but it would not be surprising if a high percentage of those people turned out to be the young.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va) is the latest Democrat to express doubt about Obamacare’s financial viability. His concerns centered around the issue of young people and the widespread sentiment that it is not a financially sound decision for young Americans to enroll in Obamacare. About this he said, “frankly, there’s some legitimacy to their concern because the government spends about $7 for the elderly for every $1 it spends on the young.” He continued “I just don’t know how we’re going to do it frankly.” Moran, like the rest of his Democratic colleagues, does not claim to have the answer to the problem but has not lost hope that the program will work.

Under the new healthcare program, 18-34 year-olds could see their health insurance premiums rise by an average of 260 percent. Obamacare mandates that all Americans purchase health insurance or pay a $95 fine; right now, the majority of young Americans are opting to pay the fine in lieu of purchasing coverage. According to the American Action Forum, 6 out of 7 Americans between the ages of 18-34 would derive more financial benefit by paying the fine rather than purchasing coverage in 2014. The White House does not find statistics such as these as a serious obstacle to meeting the 40 percent figure and has maintained its optimism for the program’s success.

The Obama administration cited a figure of 2.1 million as the total number of people signed up for health insurance under Obamacare as of January 1st, but anywhere from 12 to 30 percent of those individuals do not have fully-activated healthcare plans because their premiums remain unpaid. Several insurance companies have extended the payment deadline to January 30, knowing that thousands of people would delay payment. Now that that deadline has passed, cancellation notices are going out, augmenting the thousands that have already gone out because of earlier payment deadlines for some insurance providers.

All hope is not lost for those with delinquent accounts. Some providers are sending out a last-chance “Hail-Mary” payment option, so solid numbers as to the number of Americans who have actually signed up for Obamacare have yet to come in. A concrete enrollment figure will likely not arrive for a few weeks. No doubt the Obama administration is holding its breath, hoping that a disproportionate number of those accounts are not in the all-important 18-34 age group.