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New report: Individual health insurance market failing consumers
Date:7/20/2009

h Fund President Karen Davis. "To achieve a health care system that works for all Americans we need health care reform that offers comprehensive, affordable health insurance to everyone regardless of their health status, premium subsidies to help families with low and moderate incomes afford health insurance, and requirements to ensure that no one is denied health insurance because of a health problem."

Experiences In The Individual Market

Those who are able to purchase individual health insurance are more likely to face a host of problems with their insurance, including going without prescription drug coverage (20 percent), limits on the total dollar amount their insurance will pay for health care (49 percent); doctors charging more than insurance will pay and being forced to pay the difference (39 percent); and expensive bills that their insurance will not cover (36 percent). In addition, 41 percent of individually insured adults reported forgoing needed health care because of costsup from 24 percent in 2001. Over one-third of those with individual coverage (36 percent) also reported medical bill or debt problems, a substantial increase over the 28 percent who also reported medical bill or debt problems in 2005.

"People buying their own health insurance are paying significantly more in premiums than those with employer-based coverage, but are getting less for their money in terms of protection against high costs and access to the health care they need," said study co-author and Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins. "It is critical that health reform proposals set minimum benefit standards and provide adequate premium subsidies to ensure that families who lose their job-based benefits can purchase affordable coverage that gives them access to timely care and protects them from catastrophic health care costs."

The large majority of Americans who have individual coverage are unemployed, self-employed, or employe
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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