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Young Adult Health Law Enrollment Touted by HHS

By Melissa Attias, CQ Roll Call

January 7, 2016 -- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials on Thursday touted new figures showing that 35 percent of people who signed up for or were re-enrolled in the health care law's insurance marketplaces during the first eight weeks of open enrollment were under age 35.

Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS, said 3 million people were between the ages of 18 and 34 out of the total 11.3 million, while almost 4 million were under age 35.

Although past reports covered different time periods, making an exact comparison difficult, he said the portion of younger enrollees in the third open enrollment period so far is larger than at the comparable point in the last open enrollment period. The third open enrollment period began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31.

"I think the most impressive number from today's report is the sheer number of young people," Frank said on a call with reporters.

Frank also said the current numbers is a "very good sign for the health and the stability of the marketplace" because young people tend to wait to sign up until the end of open enrollment.

Overall, the new report from HHS found that 8.6 million people signed up for coverage in the 38 states that use the federal insurance website through Jan. 2 and 2.7 million in the 13 state-run exchanges through Dec. 26.

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