By Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc
As the marketplace for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) opened for business last week, software glitches and the volume of consumer interest prevented some people from accessing the sites, perhaps an encouraging sign of demand. But the success of the ACA hinges not just on the overall number of people who ultimately purchase insurance but also on whether a substantial number of those who sign up are young adults—those aged 18 to 35 years, about 19 million of whom are currently uninsured.
These young adults play an important role in the ACA’s success because they are needed to help balance the insurance risk pool. If the healthier, so-called “young invincibles” don’t enroll in the insurance exchanges, a disproportionate number of older and sicker people purchasing insurance could raise premiums significantly. But will young Americans be convinced by outreach campaigns cajoling them to enroll?
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