This handout photo provided by the Brookings Institution, and taken on June 25, 2013, shows Health and Human Services Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight Gary Cohen speaking at the Institution in Washington. Health insurance sign-ups under President Barack Obama’s law have skewed toward an older, costlier crowd. “We think that more and more young people are going to sign up as time goes by,” said Cohen. (AP Photo/Brookings Institution, Paul Morigi) WASHINGTON – It’s an older, costlier crowd that’s signing up so far for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law, according to government figures released Monday. Enrollments are lower for the healthy, younger Americans who will be needed to keep premiums from rising.Young adults from 18 to 34 are only 24 per cent of total enrolment, the administration said in its first signup figures broken down for age, gender and other details. With the HealthCare.gov website now working, the figures cover the more than 2 million Americans who had signed up for government-subsidized private insurance through the end of December in new federal and state markets.Enrolling young and healthy people is important because they generally pay more into the system than they take out, subsidizing older adults. While 24 per cent is not a bad start, say independent experts, it should be closer to 40 per cent to help keep premiums down.Adults ages 55-64 were the most heavily represented in the signups, accounting for 33 per cent of the total. Overall, the premiums paid by people in that demographic don’t fully cover their medical expenses. Some are in the waiting room for Medicare; that coverage starts at age 65.Some questions remained unanswered.For example, the administration is unable to say how of many of those enrolling for coverage had been previously uninsured. Some might have been among the more than 4.7 million insured people whose previous policies were cancelled because they didn’t meet the law’s standards.“The uninsured folks for whom the law was intended don’t seem to have signed up in nearly as high numbers,” said Richard Foster, a former statistics chief for the Health and Human Services department. “There is still a huge unknown aspect to this.”But even if the age mix remains tilted toward older adults, “it’s nothing of the sort that would trigger instability in the system,” said Larry Levitt, an insurance expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Premiums would go up next year for the overhaul, along with taxpayer costs per enrollee, but not enough to push the system into a “death spiral” in which rising premiums discourage healthy people from signing up.Levitt and other experts expected older, sicker people to be more heavily represented in the early numbers. They would have had strong motivation to persevere in the face of website dysfunction.Still, he said “it underscores a need to heighten outreach efforts to young people.” Adults ages 18-34 represent 40 per cent of the target group for the health care law, according to a recent Kaiser study. Open enrolment ends March 31.Considering that the federal health care website was down most of the time in October, administration officials said they were pleased that the percentage of young adults was as high as it was.“We think that more and more young people are going to sign up as time goes by,” said Gary Cohen, head of the Health and Human Services Department’s office in charge of Obama’s push to cover the uninsured. And there’s a hammer, too: Those who fail to sign up face a tax penalty in 2015 for being uninsured.With Monday’s numbers, a fuller picture has started to emerge of who’s signing up.Some of the highlights:— The administration continues to play catch-up. Originally, officials hoped to sign up more than 3.3 million people through the end of 2013, nearly halfway to the goal of 7 million enrollments by the end of March. Instead, enrolment as of Dec. 31 was not quite 2.2 million.— Fifty-four per cent of those who signed up were women, a slightly higher proportion of females than in the population.— Nearly four out of five who signed up got financial help with their premiums.— The most popular coverage option was a so-called silver plan, which covers about 70 per cent of expected medical costs. Three out of five people picked silver. One in five picked a lower-cost bronze plan. Only 13 per cent picked gold, which most closely compares to the typical employer plan. Another 7 per cent went for top-tier platinum plans, and about 1 per cent picked skimpy “catastrophic” plans available only to certain groups of people, including those under 30.— A few states accounted for a huge share of the enrolment. California alone had 23 per cent of the signups. California, New York, Florida, Texas and North Carolina accounted for nearly half the total.Officials remain confident they’ll be able to get young adults interested. Insurers, non-profit groups, and advocates are moving ahead with marketing campaigns that were put on hold when the federal website that serves 36 states was struggling.Administration officials said that in the coming weeks they plan to increase outreach to young people in 25 communities located in states served by the federal website. That effort includes a national youth enrolment day on Feb. 15 and targeted outreach by sororities and fraternities, as well as Voto Latino, which focuses on Hispanic youth.In Miami, 19-year-old college student Stacy Sylvain was one of the last-minute online signups as 2013 drew to a close. In about an hour, the part-time waitress signed up for a plan with a $158 monthly premium, with the feds kicking in $48. She has a $2,500 deductible. Sylvain said she had no trouble navigating the website.“Many people have a preconceived notion that young people are healthy and don’t need to go to the doctor,” said Sylvain, who suffered a minor injury when she fell and hit her head during an indoor soccer class in 2012. “Not having to worry about being uninsured and the what-ifs has made an incredible impact on my life.”___Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace and AP Writer Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this report. Older adults, more expensive to cover, outnumber young people so far in health care signups AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press Posted Jan 13, 2014 2:01 pm MDT
Cornerbacks and special teams coach Kerry Coombs celebrates the Buckeyes victory over Wisconsin on Nov. 17, 2012 at Camp Randall Stadium. OSU won, 21-14.Sophomore cornerback Armani Reeves will have big shoes to fill for the Ohio State football team when it kicks off its season Aug. 31 versus Buffalo. With star cornerback Bradley Roby suspended for the season opener, Reeves will take Roby’s place in the starting lineup opposite junior Doran Grant, OSU cornerbacks coach KerryCoombs said Monday.Reeves said Monday he is looking forward to the opportunity to be a starter, if only for one game.“I can’t wait to have all my family and friends see me on the field,” Reeves said. “It’s going to be fun.”OSU coach Urban Meyer announced Saturday that Roby, a redshirtjunior, would be suspended for at least the first game of the season for his involvement in an incident at a bar in Bloomington, Ind., on July 21. That announcement came one day after Roby’s charge was downgraded from misdemeanor battery to disorderly conduct.Roby was one of the nation’s best cornerbacks last season as a redshirt sophomore. He had 19 pass defenses in 11 games for a nation-best rate of 1.73 pass defenses per game. He was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and a second-team All-American.Meyer has not ruled out the possibility of Roby being suspended for more than one game, but he is expected to return as the team’s No. 1 cornerback once he is off suspension.Coombs said Reeves has earned the opportunity to start against Buffalo.“(Reeves has had an) incredible offseason, great spring, worked really hard, understands the game, very committed, very focused,” Coombs said. “(He) still has to play, so we’ll find out on the 31st, but he’s going to line up, and he’s going to play, and I’m excited to see him play.”Starting opposite Reeves will be Grant, who is taking Travis Howard’s place in the starting lineup at cornerback.“I feel good. I feel ready to play. I’m ready for the season to get started,” Grant said.Grant started one game last season versus UAB in place of Roby. He saw action in all 12 games, accumulated 19 tackles and had an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery during the season.Going into this season as a starter, Grant said he has a fresh mindset and is going to play more aggressively.“I prepared for it just like I did last season,” Grant said. “I just grew a little bit, little bit more confident and I’m ready for Aug. 31.”Coombs said he’s confident in Grant’s ability.“I think there’s a difference when you walk in and hope to get a job, and when you’ve earned a job,” Coombs said. “I think he feels very, very confident in his ability to do that job. I know that I do.”With Roby’s ability to make plays on the ball and lock down opponents in coverage, opposing teams may be more prone to throw at Grant this season. Grant said he is looking forward to be tested by his opponents.“To me, it’s just more opportunity in my eyes,” Grant said.Coombs said Grant has been tested by all of the Buckeyes’ top wide receivers in fall camp, and that Grant has responded “incredibly well.”“If you’re going to play this position at this level, you better hope to be tested, that’s why you want to be there,” Coombssaid. “You’re standing out there on the island all by yourself. It takes a man’s man to play corner in the Big Ten Conference and I would expect that he’s really excited about that.”Redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Guiton said throwing against Grant in practice has been a challenge.“He’s a guy that works hard and he’s always in there and I think he’s going to do real good,” Guiton said. “He’s there, he’s always there, you have to make a good pass to complete it on him.”In football terminology, Roby plays boundary cornerback, which means he will play on the short side of the field and typically see more one-on-one matchups with the opposing team’s best receiver. Grant will play the field cornerback spot opposite Roby, but for the season opener, Coombs said both Grant and Reeves could see time as the boundary cornerback.“For the first game, Doran (Grant) will play some boundary, Armani (Reeves) will play some boundary,” Coombs said. “The throw is shorter to the boundary so it’s an easier throw. Offenses put their best guy there a lot. So a shorter throw to a better receiver requires tighter coverage. The skill set in the boundary is a little different than the skill set to the field.”Roby may be one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, but Coombs said the secondary will be fine without him in the lineup.“I want to make sure I’m very, very clear: We’re going to be good regardless of who’s in there,” Coombs said.Behind Roby, Grant and Reeves, the Buckeyes are relying on youth to step up quickly at cornerback.Three true freshmen — Eli Apple, Cam Burrows and Gareon Conley — are currently battling for depth chart position at cornerback behind Reeves, Coombs said.“They’re battling their butt(s) off,” Coombs said. “The guy who makes it through that the best is the guy that’s going to play the most, but I would expect all of them to play this year.”As for Reeves, he said although he is excited to start, his preparation will not change if he returns to a backup role upon Roby’s return.“Obviously he’s one of the best in the country, if not the best, so when he comes back I’m still going to do the same thing I’ve been doing all the time, and that’s working hard,” Reeves said of Roby. “And if I’m on the field at corner, I’m going to be going hard.”Reeves said Roby has still been the same player in camp too, even though he will be forced to sit out the opening game.“He’s been very supportive and working hard like always,” Reeves said. “Nothing’s really changed for him. Still a hard worker, film everyday, technique’s always on point.”The Aug. 31 season opener versus Buffalo is scheduled for a noon kickoff at Ohio Stadium.