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Obamacare May Not Be Signing Up Enough Young Adults


More than 250,000 people in the Carolinas have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace or exchange that's part of the Affordable Care Act. But there may not be enough young people signing up for the law to work as intended.

Through the end of February, about 200,000 North Carolinians have used the federal marketplace to sign up for health insurance, and so have about 56,000 South Carolinians. That's according to a new federal report, and it doesn't specify how many of those people were previously uninsured.

But there's another number that experts say may be even more important to whether the law works: the percentage of young adults signing up. The idea is to have a good mix of younger, healthier people to balance out the costs of older folks.

The Obama administration wants young adults to make up about 40 percent of enrollees. But in the Carolinas and nationally, the percentage at the end of February was well below that: about 25 percent.

When Massachusetts enacted similar changes in the 2000s, young adults were among the last to sign up. The administration expects that to be the case here, too, and open enrollment ends March 31.