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 16,986.29 25.72 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,449.85 0.29 0.01%
S&P 500 1,979.88 1.54 0.08%
Treasuries 2.49 0.02 0.81%
Data as of 3:10pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 98.94 1.27 1.30%
Facebook Inc 74.98 -0.22 -0.29%
Family Dollar Stores... 75.59 14.93 24.61%
Dollar Tree Inc 55.89 1.67 3.08%
Bank of America Corp... 15.51 -0.08 -0.51%
Data as of 2:55pm ET

Sections

The SEC fines the Massachusetts gun maker for bribing officials when trying to secure sales contracts with overseas military and law enforcement agencies. More

New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More

Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More

Ali Ewoldt has performed in Broadway musicals and TV shows. Her days consist of auditions, rehearsals, and being on stage in front of hundreds of people at a time. Here are journal entries from a day in her life. More

Market indexes 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. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.