There’s positive interest in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges from the sought-after young and healthy portion of the U.S. population, a report released Thursday shows. But the question remains: Is this must-have demographic actually signing up?

A Commonwealth Fund survey of potentially exchange-eligible people found that during the end of December, 41% of exchange website visitors were between the ages of 19 and 34, and 77% said they were in “good health.” The group polled 622 people across the nation and conducted the interviews Dec. 11 – 29.

So far, the government has yet to release demographic data on the individuals enrolled in insurance plans through the new state and federal websites, but about 2.1 million people have selected private health plans, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

‘People who were sick’

Naama O. Pozniak, an independent broker and owner of A+ Insurance Services in Studio City, Calif., has dedicated part of her business to helping the uninsured gain coverage on the exchanges. She saw a different type of person interested in Covered California during the latter part of December.

“The last people who needed the coverage were people who were sick and hadn’t seen a doctor in, say, 10 years,” she said about the days close to Dec. 23, the last day people could enroll in a plan that would be effective Jan. 1. Pozniak has converted her office into a walk-in operation where people can either stop by without an appointment or call to make an appointment if they’re interested in any type of insurance.

The Commonwealth study also shows, however, that there is still a great deal of work to be done. Of the potentially exchange-eligible respondents, only 24% had visited a website. This number is corroborated by another recent study by Enroll America, a group with White House ties seeking to educate the uninsured, showing that 68% of the uninsured have not yet visited the exchanges.

Pozniak doesn’t know if the exchanges will get the young and healthy people needed to balance risk pools — or the 7 million the government predicted would be enrolled by March 31 — but she’s working around the clock to help those who seek her out. “I’m looking at the glass half full and I find the best positive energy in everything … and that’s how I promote and support the system,” she says. “It’s going to work or not. We don’t have a crystal ball.”

Presidential treatment

On Friday afternoon the White House reported that President Barack Obama is increasing efforts himself to draw attention to the need for the young and healthy to enroll in his signature policy. “The President is having lunch with five young people at The Coupe restaurant in the Columbia Heights section of Washington, DC, who are spearheading creative outreach efforts to connect with and help enroll young consumers through the Marketplaces or are interested in getting more involved with these efforts,” according to a statement released to press by White House officials.

It also noted that Obama wanted to “hear directly” from young people about their experiences trying to get people to sign up. The White House and young people like those the president is meeting Friday are working towards a National Youth Enrollment Day scheduled for Feb. 15.

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