MEDFORD, Ore. — Of all of the health insurance exchanges in the country, Cover Oregon is seeing one of the lowest rates of young adults enrolling according to a new federal report by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Of the 38,000 Oregonians who have signed up for insurance through Cover Oregon, only 18 percent of them are in the 18-34 year age group.
That’s a concern, because if there are not enough healthy people on the program, it could mean premiums go up for everyone. The current premiums are calculated with the expectation of 40 percent of users being young and healthy.
Oregon is not alone in being significantly under those goals. The report shows on average, 25 percent of people 18-34 have signed up for health insurance through the health insurance exchange across the country.
Younger people say they are not signing up for a number of reasons.
“Being an adult is kind of scary so they may not know the benefits of what it could be like to get insurance,” said insured college student, Courtney Wiles. “They just think it’s going to be fine. I’ll just pay the fees and whatever. They’re parents may not have talked to them about how important it is like mine did.”
Cover Oregon insurance enrollment managers said they are seeing a lot of young people coming in and asking questions. They said the biggest problem right now is just education on the issue.
Cover Oregon officials said young adults’ premiums are needed to help offset the cost of caring for older generations. The deadline to sign up for Cover Oregon is March 15. After the deadline, uninsured adults will be charged a fee.