Price hikes hammer individual health coverage

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- When health insurance costs rise for individual buyers, they soar: The average premium rose 20% in its most recent increase, according to a report released Monday.

About 14 million Americans younger than 65 buy their own individual health plans, rather than purchasing coverage through their employers, said the report from the nonprofit group Kaiser Family Foundation. More than three-quarters of that contingent said they were recently hit with a price hike.

"[This] shows that the steep increases we have been reading about over the last several months are not just extreme cases," Kaiser chief executive Drew Altman said in the report.

Still, only 16% of all non-group policyholders said they switched insurers. And many of those who jumped ship are now getting less coverage: Half of the those who changed said their new plans were inferior to the old ones.

Coverage and cost worries: Individual plan customers carry an average annual deductible of $2,438 -- almost four times the average deductible for common employer-sponsored plans.

As a result, 40% of the individual policyholders said they were "not too confident" or "not at all confident" that they would be able to pay their medical bills.

Kaiser's report surveyed 1,038 people, ages 18-64, who bought their own health coverage. The poll was conducted between March 19 and April 2, during the final congressional debate and enactment of the sweeping health care reform legislation. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,805.41 127.51 0.76%
Nasdaq 4,483.72 30.93 0.69%
S&P 500 1,964.58 13.76 0.71%
Treasuries 2.27 -0.00 -0.09%
Data as of 5:20pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 13.78 -0.62 -4.31%
Microsoft Corp 46.13 1.11 2.47%
Apple Inc 105.22 0.39 0.37%
Bank of America Corp... 16.72 0.12 0.72%
Yahoo! Inc 43.50 0.90 2.11%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Drug makers, airlines and entertainment companies are among the stocks that some investors say could be impacted by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. More

With oil and gas prices falling, some in Washington are questioning whether it makes sense to hold 106 days worth of supply in storage. More

Shares of Facebook recently topped $80. They've more than quadrupled from their post-IPO lows of two years ago. Can Mark Zuckerberg keep the momentum in mobile going? More

Using technology developed for the military and implemented in Iraq, schools have installed alarm systems that detect gunfire. More

Big purchases often come with big expectations. So it's no wonder that in a recent survey 80% of homebuyers said they regretted at least one thing about their home. Here are ways to improve those odds. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.