Conventional wisdom, summarized by the WSJ, is that”ObamaCare’s financing won’t work unless “young healthies” … pay through the nose for coverage … via the individual mandate.”
The Obama administration estimates that 2.7 million people between the ages of 18 and 30 need to buy health insurance through the federal and state marketplaces to offset the health care needs of older, less healthy Americans.
The 18-26 age group is the lowest user of care.
For example, the average male sees a physician only six times between the ages of 21 and 35.
But, ObamaCare now limits insurers to charging the sickest seniors no more than three times the amount they charge their youngest customers.
Since an average 64-year-old uses six times as much health care as 19-year-olds, young healthy enrollees have to pay considerably more than the cost of their own care.
So, the Administration is pulling out all stops to get young healthies enrolled.
But, there are some flies in the ObamaCare ointment …
First, as we’ve posted before, is the adult-child quirk.
Until age 26, adult-children can be added to their parents’ policies. If they’re the only child on the family’s policy, an added premium is charged. If there’s already a covered child – i.e. a “family” policy – then the adult-child rides free … with no rational reason to buy their own policy.
Second is the power of free.
Maybe young healthies only visit the doctor every other year now.
But, their behavior is likely to change when visits are freebies.
At a minimum, if the above ads work, the young healthies will be tapping the system for their “free” birth control.
Most important …
According to USA Today, “while those younger Americans may not have physical ailments, they are more likely to have mental health issues that will now be treated the same as physical problems because of the law.
In my opinion, that’s good … and, long overdue.
“In the past, insurance companies offered little or no coverage for mental health disorders or offered limited treatment. For example, a person with depression might be covered for six sessions with a therapist, rather than enough sessions to bring the disorder under control.”
Further, studies indicate that almost 1 in 5 people in the 18 to 35 year old age group have a mental health condition, such as depression.
Treating a young person for depression costs about $7,000 per year …. about the same as the cost for treating an older person for high blood pressure.
Bottom line: Healthy older people may be more important to ObamaCare than apparently young healthies.