The Associated Press reports that Wisconsin and West Virginia sign-ups on the new individual marketplace which guarantees health coverage that can never be taken away are skewing older than the rest of the country, with 45% of new enrollees between the ages of 55 and 64. The national average is 33% for this age group. If this trend continues, Wisconsin’s individual market health insurance rates would go up much faster than the country as a whole. This is because reasonable rates depend on achieving a balance between older enrollees who tend to have more health conditions and younger enrollees who tend to be healthier. So far 40,752 people have successfully enrolled in the new guaranteed Affordable Care Act coverage in Wisconsin.
There is still time before the March 31 open enrollment deadline for more young people to sign up in Wisconsin. State leaders could be lowering health care costs by investing in public information campaigns and outreach efforts, but shockingly Wisconsin is dead last in the nation per capita for marketing of the new guaranteed coverage options provided by the Affordable Care Act.
“The latest enrollment numbers ought to send off alarm bells that health insurance could be much more expensive in Wisconsin than the rest of the nation unless we do a better job of promoting the new guaranteed coverage options to young adults,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “If this dangerous trend continues, it will be a costly liability for hard pressed working families to live in a state where the Governor and the leadership of the State Legislature are more interested in sabotaging health care reform for political purposes than constructively working to make it work for everyone who needs guaranteed access to quality affordable health care.”