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Middle-Aged, Older Adults Signing Up For State’s Insurance Exchanges

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By SUSAN HAIGH,  Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s new online insurance marketplace is getting a better picture of who is signing up for health coverage — mostly middle-aged and older adults.

In the most detailed briefing since enrollment began Oct. 1, Access Health CT’s Peter Van Loon expressed some concern that older people “have jumped on this in a big way,” acknowledging that the marketplace has always wanted a mixed sampling of ages so the risk pool is balanced.

Earlier data showed that nearly a third of enrollees were between the ages of 18-34, but Thursday’s briefing indicated that most customers had enrolled in the government-funded Medicaid.

“We want a nice bell curve,” Van Loon, the marketplace chief operating officer, told Access Health CT board members.

Of the 3,847 individuals who signed up for coverage through Access Health CT between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, 1,857 enrolled in Medicaid; 93 in CHIP for children; 772 in private plans without a subsidy and 1,125 in private plans with a subsidy.

Van Loon said they will not be officially enrolled until Access Health CT, also known as an exchange, forwards their data to the insurance companies participating in the program.

So far, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield apparently is the most popular choice, covering 67 percent of enrollees. ConnecticutCare Benefits Inc. has picked up 31 percent of the enrollees, followed by the new nonprofit HealthyCT Inc. with 2 percent.

For plans for small businesses, a total of 11 applications have been submitted, representing 47 employees.

Access Health CT hopes to sign up 100,000 people during the enrollment period, which ends March 31. The numbers are expected to climb once outreach efforts kick into full gear.

Jason Madrak, the exchange’s chief marketing director, said widespread television and online advertising will start in the next two weeks. He said the exchange will make a substantial push to get people enrolled before Dec. 15, the deadline to sign up to get coverage starting Jan. 1. Madrak said the exchange will make another advertising push before the final day of enrollment.

Meanwhile, Access Health CT plans to have sign-up events in 18 cities across the state where computers and trained help will be on hand for people to enroll.

Additionally, the exchange’s first storefront, located in New Britain, is expected to open around Oct. 29 and a Hispanic supermarket tour is kicking off Saturday.

 (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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