Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nearly nine of 10 who seek individual market health insurance never buy a plan

18.09.2006
One of five who applies for coverage in individual market is turned down or charged higher prices due to pre-existing conditions
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund finds that, as employers cope with rising health care costs by dropping health benefits or increasing employee cost-sharing through higher deductibles, workers and their families are being squeezed. When people lose coverage, many who turn to the individual insurance market find that coverage is unobtainable or unaffordable. The report also finds that those with high-deductible health plans are more likely than those with lower deductibles to have burdensome medical debt and to forego needed health care; those with low incomes are especially at risk.

An overwhelming majority--89%--of working-age adults who sought coverage in the individual market during the past three years ended up never buying a plan. A majority (58%) found it very difficult or impossible to find affordable coverage. One-fifth (21%) of those who sought to buy coverage were turned down, were charged a higher price because of a pre-existing condition, or had a health problem excluded from coverage.

"More workers and their families are losing employer-sponsored health insurance," said Commonwealth Fund Assistant Vice President Sara Collins, lead author of the report. "Most of the increase in the number of uninsured Americans--now upwards of 46.6 million--was due to a decline in workplace coverage. Although the individual market is a last resort for those shut out of employer-sponsored coverage, it is by no means a safe or secure haven for everyone."

People with High-Deductible Health Plans Face Potentially Large Cost Burdens The report also highlights the increasing cost burdens families are facing due to the decline in the quality of coverage and more cost-shifting to employees. Adults with high-deductible health plans--both those with individual market or employer-based coverage--have higher out-of-pocket costs than do those with lower-deductible plans. In addition, many adults with such plans are left with burdensome medical bills because of limits to their insurance coverage. Two of five (40%) of those with deductibles over $1,000 had expensive medical bills for services not covered by their insurance, compared to about one-fifth (19%) of those with deductibles under $500.

The report, Squeezed: Why Rising Exposure to Health Care Costs Threatens the Health and Financial Well-Being of American Families, by Commonwealth Fund Assistant Vice President Sara Collins and colleagues, is based on findings from the Commonwealth Fund 2005 Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

Those with high deductible health plans were also more likely to report that they did not get needed health care or prescription drugs because of costs. In addition, many adults with such plans said they had problems with medical bills or were paying off medical debt over time and were more likely to give low ratings to their coverage. Two of five (41%) of those with deductibles over $1,000 had medical bill problems compared to about 23 percent of those with deductibles under $500. Two of five (41%) of those with higher deductibles rated their health plan fair or poor, compared to 15 percent of those with lower deductibles.

"Increasing the amount people pay for their health insurance and health care imposes a burden on low and moderate income families. It is increasingly difficult even for those with insurance to obtain the health care they need to be healthy and productive," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "We need a national solution to the problem of affordable and comprehensive coverage for all, following the lead of states like Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont that have expanded coverage through shared financial contributions from individuals, employers, and government."

Other key findings from the report include:

Individual health coverage is more expensive

  • Two of five (43%) adults with individual coverage spent 5 percent or more of income on premiums, compared to 14 percent with employer-sponsored coverage.
  • More than one-third (37%) of adults with individual coverage have annual deductibles of $1,000 or more.

Increasing deductibles linked to poorer access, satisfaction with health care

  • Adults with high deductibles are less satisfied with the quality of the health care they have received: less than one-third (29%) of those with deductibles over $1,000 are very satisfied with quality, compare to over half (54%) of those with deductibles under $500.
  • Nearly half (44%) of those with deductibles over $1,000 experienced problems with access to care (didn't fill a prescription, didn't see a specialist when needed, skipped a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up, or had a medical problem and didn't go to a doctor or clinic) compared with one-quarter (25%) of those with deductibles under $500.
  • One-fifth (22%) of those with higher deductibles took on credit card debt to pay medical bills, compared to 8 percent of those with lower deductibles.

Mary Mahon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cmwf.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>