The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Cathey Park of Cambridge, Mass., wears a cast for her broken wrist with "I Love Obamacare" written upon it prior to President Barack Obama Cathey Park of Cambridge, Mass., wears a cast for her broken wrist with "I Love Obamacare" written upon it prior to President Barack Obama's arrival to speak about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston October 30, 2013. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)  

Obamacare sign-ups are old, and withholding payments, say consultants

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

There’s bad news hidden behind the White House’s latest optimistic Obamacare report.

Few people are actually paying for the healthcare plans that they’ve picked on the partially-fixed Obamacare website, say industry insiders.

Also, too few young people are joining the plans offered by companies using the Obamacare website, said Robert Laszewski, a plugged-in insurance consultant.

Older clients, aged above 40, comprise 60 percent of the new Obamacare customers at one of his client health-care companies, Laszewski told The Daily Caller.

The skew is “very, very bad,” said Laszewski, who is president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, Inc.

The insurance companies need many young and healthy clients to offset the cost of providing benefits to older and sicker patients, he said. Any lack of young and healthy patients will drive up costs for older and sicker patients in 2014.

The White House’s goal is 2.7 million young people, out of 7 million expected customers, by April 1.

But White House spokesman Josh Earnest downplayed the demographic problem Wednesday.

No single piece of data can determine the plan’s success, he said, adding that  “our goal is to sign up as many people as possible.”

Precise predictions are impossible because the Obamacare system is so new, and executives do expect a surge of people to join in the next two weeks, Laszewski said.

But the apparent lack of young people “is a very poor omen,” Laszewski said.

The first deadline is Dec. 23. People who sign and up and send in their first checks by that date will be enrolled in Obamacare on Jan. 1.

President Barack Obama’s tax-and-healthcare plan has already cancelled insurance plans held by at least 4 million Americans. Many of the victims are professionals, such as journalists, who can influence the media and public opinion.

The administration issued a report Dec. 11 claiming that 365,000 people had selected commercial health care plans from state and local Obamacare websites by the end of November.

Prior to Oct. 1, officials expected 1.2 million to have signed up by the end of November.