Updated 3:40 p.m.

Although enrollment in private health plans sold through Connecticut’s health insurance exchange rose by 37 percent this year, the age distribution of customers was virtually unchanged, according to data released by the federal government Tuesday.

As in 2014, 30 percent of those who signed up for private coverage this year through the exchange, Access Health CT, were ages 55 to 64. The percentage of private insurance customers in the coveted 18 to 34 age group inched up, barely – from 25 percent in 2014 to 25.6 percent in 2015.

Nationally, 35 percent of the nearly 11.7 million people who selected private insurance plans through public exchanges were under 35, compared to 32.9 percent in Connecticut, according to the report, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Age distribution of Access Health CT customers
Private insurance sign-ups, by age
Age May 2014 Feb. 21, 2015
0-17 7% 7.3%
18-25 10% 10.2%
26-34 15% 15.4%
35-44 14% 13.7%
45-54 24% 23.4%
55-64 30% 30%
65+ 2% 1.4%
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Access Health CT

The report said 109,839 people signed up for insurance plans through Connecticut’s exchange as of Feb. 21. On Feb. 23, Access Health reported that 110,095 people had signed up, a figure that Access Health Chief Marketing Officer Jason Madrak said reflected updated information.

The report was based on the number of people who signed up and selected health plans as of Feb. 21. It didn’t take into account whether people paid their first month’s premium, which they must do for the coverage to become effective. Information on the number of people who paid premiums is expected in the spring.

The number of people covered during the year is expected to fluctuate somewhat as people drop off and others sign up. The deadline to sign up for private insurance was Feb. 15, but people who lose health insurance because of certain circumstances – including losing a job, moving to a new state or getting divorced – can sign up outside the open enrollment period.

In addition, Connecticut’s exchange is holding a special enrollment period April 1 through April 30 for people who paid a tax penalty for not having insurance in 2014, did not know about the penalty until after the Feb. 15 enrollment deadline, and are not insured.

People who qualify for Medicaid can sign up at any point in the year.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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