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NJAHP President: Obamacare Enrollment Surge Was Expected

3-31-14

The deadline to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act is today and New Jersey Association of Health Plans President Ward Sanders told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that a surge in enrollment in the last couple of days was expected.

“Everyone was anticipating a big surge at the end. I don’t think they were going to be surprised by this. The health plans were really geared up over the last stretch here with all sorts of efforts to gear up for this last minute surge and it does look like there are a lot of folks enrolling today,” said Sanders.

Sanders said that a goal of the White House was to reach people between ages 18 and 34 and to get about 40 percent of them covered. He said the percentage has been lower than that. He has heard of some last minute reports of an uptick in the younger people signing up for coverage and their enrollment is key to the success of the program. He said that there’s a great deal of hope that the younger segment of the population will be enrolling in larger numbers than they had been previously.

There has been concern around enrollment of the younger segment of the population. To make sure there is an appropriate mix of risks, insurance companies want to make sure that younger people are enrolled, Sanders explained. He said that it has been challenging because rates had to be in and can only be modified on a limited basis. There may be adjustments that need to made for next year, he said.

“Part of this is that we have an instant gratification society and when you go to purchase things, this is a little bit more complicated than that and there is going to be some expectations that it’s going to be instant and that’s not truly going to be the case. It is going to be a while before those goals are reached,” said Sanders. “It certainly is changing the landscape through Medicare expansion and the individual shopping experience is changing in large measure because of the subsidies there as well. The online portal experience I’m not sure that is a part of it, but I think more importantly that the law is subsidizing a lot of folks to be able to afford it is really the key change.”