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Federal health insurance mandate now in effect

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Sergei Mordovin
Federal health insurance mandate now in effect
Federal health insurance mandate now in effect

After years of preparation, tough roads, and well-publicized failures, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate is now finally in place, meaning that all Americans are now required to have some sort of health insurance plan. However, this does not mean that many experts do not see kinks that still need to be worked out with the implementation of the system.

For one thing, while the law required all Americans to carry health coverage by the start of the new year, it seems that many have not yet done so, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Most of these people are apparently younger Americans, who were largely considered to be the foundation on which the success or failure of the law would be predicated. In general, their involvement with buying coverage through state or federal health insurance coverage was going to be used to keep prices lower for everyone else. As people in their 20s and early 30s tend to be healthy, most of their premiums would be put toward holding down costs for older Americans who are more likely to need regular health care, both for preventative and more serious reasons.

However, it seems as though the numerous problems experienced by Americans in trying to sign up for the Healthcare.gov exchanges have disproportionately affected sign-up rates for these so-called "Young Invincibles," and that could have a major impact on those already enrolled and insurers as well, the report said. Enrollment for the exchanges is open through the end of March, and if there is not an uptick in sign-ups among Millennials in particular, some experts wonder whether health insurance issuers will begin pulling their plans from the marketplaces because the cost will be too great to provide coverage only to older people at the previously expected rates.

Some success as well
Since the Healthcare.gov site was fully revamped, it seems that some 2.1 million Americans had been able to successfully sign up for coverage by Dec. 24, the report said. That will likely continue to grow ahead of the March 31, 2014 sign-up deadline, but the number was also well below the 3.3 million projected for the end of the year.

Insurers and consumers alike should keep a close eye on trends in this area as a means of making sure that they're prepared for any issues that might arise in the near future, as any industry changes could affect them significantly.

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