Individual Rate Hikes: Compare Health Insurance

walgreens signIndividual health insurance rates have increased by as much as 20%, compared with employer-sponsored group plan increases closer to 5%.  In the Associated Press article “Survey: Individual health insurance premiums jump,”  Tom Murphy summarizes the results found in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s new survey.  Although individual insurance plans increased by 20%, consumers were able to compare health insurance rates at other providers causing many to switch.  Switching providers lowered the average price increase to 13%, still much higher than the employer-sponsored family plan increase of 5%.  Individual employer-sponsored plans stayed almost the same from year to year.

The individual health insurance market is used by 14 million or so Americans under the age of 65, while 157 million participate in employer-sponsored plans.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of California came under fire last year for their request of 20% premium increases, but they argue that the increases are fully necessary.  All of these individual health insurance increases most likely added to the health care reform debate and the bill that was passed in March.  Almost half of the people surveyed purchase individual health insurance because they are self-employed or own small businesses.  We’ll see what the health care changes bring about for the individual market’s costs.

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