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10/15/2015

Obamacare Isn’t Helping the “Tweeners” Much Yet

The Affordable Care Act has done a lot to increase the proportion of Americans with health insurance. I’ve posted a lot of those figures in the past. But here is some data, published by a former student of mine, showing that the law doesn’t seem to be having a huge impact yet on people ages 26 through 44.

Obamacare Isn't Helping Tweeners Much Yet

The sharp decline in the uninsurance rate people ages 19 through 25 are direct result of the law expanding parental coverage for people in this age group. Insurance companies now have to allow parents to keep their kids on their insurance up to age 26. But what explains the larger decline in uninsurance among people 45 and older, compared to those 26 through 44?

I expect it is health. At least according to my experience, as people get older, they experience more health problems. That makes it that much more important to have health insurance. By contrast, many people in their 20s and 30s are relatively healthy, and are therefore probably more willing to go without health insurance. That is a problem. We need everybody to have insurance, so the people in their 20s and 30s subsidize those in their 40s, 50s and 60s. The individual mandate was supposed to accomplish this.

It hasn’t done so yet.

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