'Young Invincibles' Key to Health Exchange Success

RENO, NV - Older people between the ages of 55 and 64 are taking advantage of the nation's new health insurance system. This group of people was the first to sign up. Now with their insurance cards, they are going to a doctor's office and filling their prescriptions. But for the entire system to work out financially, another group has to sign up, and make up the largest slice of the pie. They are known as the “Young Invincibles.”

Local resident Chris Luippold is a father of three kids, and recently unemployed.

He says the thought of having no insurance weighed heavy on his mind.

“You never know what's going to happen or when it's gong to happen. And I mean for all of those people who decided I'm not going to sign up, and face the penalty, they are at risk,” says 56 year old Luippold.

Luippold was able to get insurance through Nevada's Health Insurance Exchange.

He says for a very reasonable price.

That's because the Affordable Care Act only allows him to be charged three times the premium for a 21-year-old---it used to be five times.

So in the giant risk pool, who makes up the cost?

This guy or gal.

Called the "Young Invincibles," they are being asked to pay premiums that will more than cover their costs to, in essence, pay for people like Chris whose premiums are not expected to fully cover medical expenses.

According to Kaiser Family foundation, to sustain a stable health insurance marketplace, about 40% of the market should be comprised of 18-34 year olds. Their premiums will help offset the 55-year-olds and older who ideally will make up 17% of the pool.

That's why there's such a big push to get younger people to literally buy into the A-C-A.

” Here in the state of Nevada looking into the age groups about 27% of the individuals as of last week were below the age of 34 so that represents that age group and right now 35% are over the age of 50,” says CJ Bawden with the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.

If goals aren't met, there are cushions built into the system for the next couple of years, where the federal government will help ratchet up or down the insurer's gains or losses.

While one "young invincible" we talked to didn't know about his age group's role in the Affordable Care Act, he was adamant about what he would do individually.

“I'm not going to get it. I don't believe in paying for it. I don't go to the hospital that much. I don't make enough money to pay for it,” says 24 year old Jonathan.

If the delicate balance isn't achieved in 2014, insurance companies could increase their premiums anywhere between 1.1 and 2.5 $