Megan McArdle | February’s Middling News for Obamacare

The administration has released its latest enrollment report, covering enrollment up to March 1. Here’s what you need to know:

By the beginning of the month, 4.2 million people had selected a plan. But that doesn’t mean they have insurance. Reporters on a conference call asked about the number who had paid, and the administration’s representatives said they don’t know. They didn’t dispute estimates from surveys that showed about 20 percent are not paying. But they didn’t confirm them, either. If the 20 percent attrition rate holds, then as of March 1, about 3.4 million had actually paid for insurance. That would put the administration about 2.3 million behind their September projections.

February enrollment was about 942,000. That’s about 33,650 a day, slightly below the January pace. It’s also well below the 1,271,880 the administration was projecting for February — a reversal after January’s totals actually exceeded projections for the first time.

In February, 27 percent of the customers were ages 18 to 34. That’s slightly better than previous months, but not nearly enough to improve the overall demographics of the insurance pool. Before enrollment began, the administration said it needed about 40 percent of customers to be young adults. Even after February’s improvement, the total percentage of young adults in the pool is still just 25 percent.

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