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

h 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 cover
    '"/>


Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
14-Sep-2006


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