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

d by firms with fewer than 20 workersone-third (36%) are unemployed, and another 50% are self-employed or employed by firms with fewer than 20 workers. People with individual insurance also tend to be older, with the majority between the ages of 50 and 64, according to the report. Families with low and moderate incomes have the hardest time affording insurance on the individual market: 85 percent of those at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $44,000 for a family of four) who sought an individual health insurance plan did not end up purchasing one and of that group, 67 percent cited cost as the reason they didn't purchase a plan.

Additional Findings

  • Adults with health problems report the highest rates of problems finding a health plan through the individual market: 60 percent of those found it very difficult or impossible to find a plan with the coverage they needed; 70 percent found it very difficult or impossible to find an affordable plan, and nearly half were turned down or charged a higher premium because of a pre-existing condition. Nearly 80 percent never purchased a plan.

  • Adults with individual insurance are increasingly underinsured: 30 percent were underinsured in 2007, up from 17 percent in 2003. Forty-one percent of those with individual insurance reported not being able to obtain needed care because of cost.

  • People with individual insurance are seeing higher deductibles: 39 percent of people with individual insurance had policies with deductibles of $1,000 or more in 2007, up from 29 percent in 2003. There was also an increase in the share of people with high deductibles in employer plans: 11 percent of those with employer insurance had deductibles of $1,000 or more in 2007, up from 5 percent in 2003.

The authors cite the declining economy, stagnant wages, and rising health care costs over the last decade as the driving forces behind why fewer working-age adults have
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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