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Both Young and Old Signing Up for Covered California

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said he is pleased with the number of young people who have enrolled so far. (Max Whitaker/Getty Images)

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said he is pleased with the number of young people who have enrolled so far. (Max Whitaker/Getty Images)

By Sarah Varney and Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News

In a state considered crucial to the success of Obamacare, older people have enrolled in California’s new health insurance marketplace in large numbers as expected, but younger people also have showed up in force.

About 56 percent of Californians who signed up for coverage in October are over 45 and nearly 23 percent of the enrollees are between 18 and 34 years old, according to data released Thursday at the Covered California board meeting in Sacramento. The older enrollees make up a higher percentage than in the state’s total population, while the proportion of younger consumers more or less matches their makeup statewide.

Policymakers and health officials around the nation are closely watching California, which has nearly 7 million uninsured and the highest number of people enrolled in new coverage of any state. In the first month of the law, California consumers made up about one-third of enrollees nationwide. As of Nov. 19, nearly 80,000 people had signed up. California runs its own health insurance exchange and website and is not part of the troubled federal site. Continue reading