WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A substantial number of young, single Americans have a solid financial incentive to forego the “Obamacare” health insurance exchanges – a trend that could send the federal health care program into a “death spiral.”

According to a new study from the National Center for Public Policy Research, a large number of single people between the ages 18-34 who do not have children have a substantial financial incentive not to “cross-subsidize” older, sicker Americans covered under the health care system, where the average surgical technician makes $41,790 a year. Without the younger generation purchasing through the exchanges, the exchanges will quickly dry up.

The study finds that in 2014, this young generation will have incentive to pay the individual mandate penalty of $95 – or one percent of income – because about 3.7 million of them will be nearly $500 better off to forego the exchange.

More than 3 million will be $1,000 better off if they go the same route.

Study author and health care policy analyst, David Hogbergan, Ph.D., writes that the exchange is an online marketplace for buying insurance set up either by state governments or the federal government.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 16 states and Washington, D.C are setting up their own exchanges, 27 states have decided to let the federal government run their exchange, and seven states are setting up a “hybrid” exchange in which the state and federal government share authority.

Of this younger generation, those who are uninsured or have insurance through the individual market comprise over 57 percent of the group most likely to be eligible for the exchanges. The Congressional Budget Office Estimates that seven million people will participate in the exchanges in 2014.

The Obama Administration estimates that about 2.7 million 18-30 year-olds will need to join the exchanges in 2014 if the health care program is to work.