Sign Up for Email Alerts Visit us on Twitter Visit us on Facebook Visit us on YouTube Subscribe to RSS Feeds


Chapter 5 - Individual Health Coverage

Change Text Size:   Smaller Text Size   Larger Text Size   Default Text Size    

NOTE: Charts and graphs for this chapter are listed in the right column of the page.

Content Last Updated: 10/11/2012 10:42:35 AM
Graphics Last Updated: 4/16/2012 12:08:56 PM
Note: Terms in green will show glossary definitions when clicked.

Originally written by Karen Pollitz, then at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Updated by Deborah Chollet and Allison Barrett, Mathematica Policy Research, and Bill Erwin, Alliance for Health Reform. Last updated October 2012 by Marilyn Werber Serafini.

This chapter was made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


  • 19 million people under age 65 were covered by an individual health insurance policy in 2011, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau.1
  • By 2019, this number is expected to grow to 24 million due to provisions in the federal health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).2
  • Individual health insurance is different from job-based coverage. Currently, it is regulated differently, and those who buy individual coverage receive neither an employer contribution to the cost of coverage nor the same tax exclusion of premium payments as people with job-based coverage enjoy.
  • Currently, most individual policies are medically underwritten, meaning insurers can deny or restrict coverage, or charge higher premiums because of an applicant’s medical history.3 Rules governing medical underwriting differ from state to state.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot limit or deny benefits or coverage for “pre-existing” conditions for a child younger than age 19.4 This went into effect on September 23, 20105
  • The ACA will substantially change the individual coverage market in the United States, eventually ending medical underwriting and eliminating higher premiums charged because of a person’s medical history.
  • Premiums and out-of-pocket costs are usually more affordable in tax-advantaged employer plans than in individual-market plans.6 However, the individual market offers flexibility and choices, and participants can avoid “job lock.”7 Some employees find lower premiums in the individual market.8
  • Also starting in 2014, the ACA will require almost all Americans to have health insurance. Health insurance exchanges will help consumers compare prices and policies and obtain subsidies to buy coverage, if their income is less than four times the federal poverty level and they cannot get coverage from their employer or a public coverage plan, such as Medicaid.
  • Administrative expenses and profit for individual policies can account for a much larger share of premiums than in group plans.
  • The ACA created a temporary, federally subsidized high-risk insurance program in every state, but only individuals who have been uninsured for at least six months can enroll. Apart from these temporary pools, 34 states make coverage available to people who have trouble buying individual coverage because they have health problems.


Because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), the world is changing for people who want to buy health insurance on their own in the individual market (or who have tried unsuccessfully to do so in the past). No longer can insurers refuse to cover children with pre-existing conditions. Anyone with a pre-existing condition can now buy coverage at more reasonable rates through a state-level high-risk pool, if they’ve been uninsured for at least six months.

In 2011, 30.2 million people, including 19 million people under age 65, bought health insurance in the individual market, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau.9 10 In general, people turn to the individual market for coverage when they don’t qualify for job-based health benefits or public programs. While only about 8 percent of all people under age 65 have individual health insurance in a given year,11 this percentage will grow because of provisions in the ACA noted in the Fast Facts above and in the section on “Federal Reform of Individual Coverage” below.

People of all ages have individual coverage. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a trade association, 40 percent of single policies were held by people aged 45-64 in 2009; 37 percent were held by people between 25 and 44 years old; and 23 percent were held by people aged 24 and under.12


Currently, because insurers in most states can deny or restrict coverage to adults, or charge a higher premium because of an adult applicant’s medical history (a practice called medical underwriting), people who buy individual health insurance tend to be in good health.13

The average monthly premium paid for individual policies in 2011 was $183, while the average premium paid for family policies was $414.14 The amounts employees were responsible for in employer sponsored coverage averaged $77 for single coverage and $344 for family coverage.15  In 2009, the average non-group policy for one person was 38 percent less expensive than the average employer-sponsored policy, according to AHIP. Family coverage was 53 percent less expensive when purchased on the non-group market.16

Non-group policies are cheaper in part because they generally offer less coverage than employer-sponsored or other group policies. One study of the individual market in 10 states found that individual policies paid 66 percent of medical costs for beneficiaries’ covered services in 2007, compared with 80 percent in employer-based plans.17

Another study found that individual market insurance policies in California paid for just 55 percent of the expenses for covered services in 2006, compared to 83 percent for small group health plans.18 Deductibles in individual policies were about three times as large as in employer-based plans.19 (See glossary for the definition of “deductibles.”) Individuals can put money into tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs) to help pay out-of-pocket expenses, if their policy qualifies as a “high deductible health plan” under federal law. (See Chapter 4, “Employer-Sponsored Coverage,” for more on HSAs.)  A graph of age distribution of people covered by HSA/HDHPs in the Individual Market, which provide coverage for 11.4 million people, as of January 2011 is included below.20

Premiums for individual coverage are increasing sharply, however. People who bought their own insurance reported in a June 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that their insurers were asking for premium increases averaging 20 percent.21

Premiums vary considerably by age. A chart of individual premiums in 2009 categorized by age is provided. (See chart, “Individual Market Premiums by Age). The average annual premium for individually-purchased single coverage in 2009 was $1,350 for those under age 18 and $5,755 for those age 60 to 64.22

Premiums also vary by state. The range of average per person monthly premiums in the individual market across the United States in 2010 falls between $136 in Alabama and $437 in Massachusetts.23 Nationally, the average monthly premium per person in the individual market in 2010 was $215.24 Vermont and Massachusetts both had average per member per month premiums over $400 per month.25 The average premium revenues in Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey were comparably high, ranging from $344 to $364 per month.26 Alabama ($136), California ($157), Arkansas ($163), Idaho ($167), and Delaware ($169) had the lowest average monthly premiums in the country.27


Because states regulate individual insurance, consumer protections in this market currently depend largely on where one lives. Today, insurance companies in most states can reject adult applicants outright, exclude coverage for certain conditions or charge higher premiums based on their health status., 28 (The ACA already prohibits the first two of these practices when applying for children’s coverage, and in 2014, they will be outlawed for all applicants.29 )

Current federal law requires insurers in every state to renew individual coverage regardless of the policyholder’s health status.30 But in some states insurers can employ various rating and marketing practices to raise the price of coverage for policyholders who get sick. As of 2011, in just seven states – Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Idaho, Vermont, and Washington – individuals were protected against all underwriting actions both when they first applied for coverage and when they renewed, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.31 Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia guaranteed protection against some underwriting action.32 The District of Columbia and Virgina offered insurers of last resort.33 The latest information on specific states can be found here. Regulations protecting consumers come with a price, however. For instance, “community rating” regulations limit the degree to which premiums can differ for different types of people. In its most stringent form, community rating requires that the old pay the same premium as the young for an equivalent policy, and the sick pay the same premium as the healthy.

A 2008 study found that community rating raises premiums by 10 to 17 percent for individual policies in the non-group market, and 21 to 22 percent for family policies.34 This will change in 2014 when provisions of the ACA affecting individual coverage go into effect, as discussed below.

Now, when applicants are denied individual coverage, charged higher premiums or offered fewer benefits because of health problems, they can turn to a state high-risk pool to buy coverage. The ACA requires that in temporary high-risk pools that the legislation created, insurers can’t charge applicants more than a person without a pre-existing condition would pay in the individual market. In order to apply, a person must have been uninsured for at least six months and must be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.35 (See “Federal Reform of Individual Coverage” below.)


Many individuals and families with directly-purchased health insurance have low incomes. In 2009, 5.6 million people with household incomes of less than $25,000 had non-group private coverage.36

Individual coverage is not subsidized through the tax code as job-based coverage is. Families must pay the entire premium, without employer contributions or extensive income tax breaks. The federal government provides a health coverage tax credit to subsidize individual coverage for a few thousand eligible early retirees and certain workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition.37

Otherwise, twelve states—Arizona, Conneticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Washington State — now subsidize premiums to help low-income residents buy individual health insurance.38 (Beginning in 2014, all states will offer subsidies, as described in the next section.)

Because the ACA allows states to extend Medicaid coverage now to all residents under 133 percent of the federal poverty line (and requires all states to do so by 2014), these states may instead choose to offer Medicaid to many individuals in those subsidy programs.

Individual Coverage CHANGES EFFECTIVE IN 2010-2011

The ACA establishes many new protections for consumers buying individual coverage. The first of these became effective in 2010 and on Jan. 1, 2011; others take effect in 2014. Ultimately, the ACA will fundamentally restructure the individual market in every state.

A temporary federally-approved high-risk pool is now open in every state for individuals who are denied coverage because of a health problem and have been uninsured at least six months. Enrollees in these high-risk programs pay the same premiums that healthy people would pay on the individual market and out-of-pocket costs are limited. Premiums are not scaled to income.39

In September 2010, individuals gained basic protections in both current and new policies:40

·         Insurers cannot cancel coverage retroactively when the policyholder becomes ill (a practice called “rescission”), except for nonpayment of premiums or fraud.

·         Insurers may not place lifetime limits on amounts paid for covered services, nor place unreasonable annual limits on these amounts.

·         Insurers must cover pre-existing conditions for dependents under age 19.

·         Dependent children may remain on a family policy until they turn 26.

In January 2011, additional protections took effect:

·         Insurers can spend no more than 20 percent of individual premiums on administrative costs and profit, refunding any excess to policyholders. (Amounts spent on actual care are termed “medical loss” and the percentage of premiums spent on care is the “medical loss ratio.”)

·         Individual policies issued subsequent to the ACA’s enactment (March 23, 2010) must cover a standard set of preventive services without cost sharing.


In 2014, the individual market will undergo major change:

·         Deductibles will be limited for health plans in the small group market to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families unless contributions are offered that offset deductible amounts above these limits. The deductible limit will not affect the actuarial value of any plans.”41

·         Insurers must accept all applicants and cover pre-existing conditions for new and current policyholders. They can vary premiums only by the individual’s age, geographic location, and tobacco use, and for single versus family coverage.42

  • To prevent healthy people from waiting until they need health care to buy insurance, increasing premiums for everyone, nearly all U.S. residents will be required to maintain coverage. (This is the widely publicized and debated “individual mandate” in the law.) Exceptions will be given for financial hardship and religious objections, and to American Indians, people who have been uninsured for less than three months, those for whom the lowest cost health plan exceeds 8 percent of income; and those with an income below the tax filing threshold.43

·         States will create “exchanges” where individual consumers can compare premiums for policies of similar value and buy coverage.

·         Individuals who buy coverage through an exchange can qualify for a premium subsidy if their income is below four times the federal poverty line and they are ineligible for an employer plan or public program.44 These individuals will spend no more than 10 percent of income on premiums. (For an example of how subsidies would work if we were already in 2014, see table “Maximum premium payments for coverage bought on exchanges under the ACA.”  All new policies must cover “essential benefits” (including maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse services, and prescription drugs), and annual out-of-pocket costs will be capped.45

Maximum premium payments for coverage bought on exchanges under the ACA, based on 2010 poverty guidelines

Source: Congressional Research Service (March 2010). “Private Health Insurance: Changes Made by H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010” (R41126), Table 1.



The ACA’s requirement that individuals maintain health insurance coverage is an essential component of individual market reform. As of 2014, insurers must accept all applicants and cannot use medical underwriting, waiting periods for pre-existing conditions or coverage exclusions.

If not required to buy health insurance, say those who support the individual mandate, individuals will be very tempted to buy coverage in this market only when they are sick. If this happens, premiums will be higher for everyone, making it harder for individuals and families to afford coverage and more costly for government to subsidize premiums. Critics of the individual mandate worry that it will establish a precedent for social policy more generally.

Even though health reform is now law, the individual mandate remains controversial, and 26 states sued to block the law. 46 Federal district court judges in Virginia and Florida ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Three other district court judges, in Virginia, Michigan, and the District of Columbia, ruled that the mandate meets constitutional requirements. Two appeals courts upheld the mandate, while a third held it to be unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the matter on June 28, 2012, allowing the requirement for most people to purchase health insurance.


The ACA will change the way insurers set individual premiums. By 2014, premiums will no longer reflect individual health status, and the oldest individuals will pay no more than three times what the youngest pay for the same policy.

In most states, where insurers are allowed to charge a higher premium for those in poorer health, and greater variation in premiums based on age is currently allowed, premiums for young and healthy individuals might increase in 2014, if their income is too high to qualify for the premium subsidy. Other requirements – that insurers accept all applicants, establish reasonable annual limits on coverage, and eliminate lifetime limits, preexisting-condition waiting periods, and benefit exclusions – are likely to further increase premiums for the youngest and healthiest individuals.

Advocates of these reforms (when taken together with income-scaled premium subsidies) see them as essential components of an individual insurance market that is accessible, affordable and fair over the course of individuals’ lifetimes. Critics are concerned that these reforms create a market that relies too heavily on government to make it work.


  • Keep in mind differences between individual and group health coverage. If you haven’t reviewed the employer-sponsored coverage chapter of this sourcebook, you will find that useful.
  • Expand time horizons. Snapshots reveal differences in health insurance products and prices at a point in time, but this can change. Are the low premiums offered for some policies stable, or do they increase over time? Do covered benefits and deductibles change?
  • You will find state-by-state information on individual health insurance regulations at, a service of the Georgetown University Health Policy Center.  Personal stories of people who have had problems with their health insurance will help you understand the motivation for the ACA’s individual market reforms, and why many people would be upset if the movement to repeal the ACA were to succeed. Try the Families USA Consumer Story Bank (call 202-628-3030, or e-mail The Alliance for Health Reform’s Find-an-Expert service also can help reporters find such individuals ( or 202-789-2300.)


  • New high-risk pool plans– How many people in your state have signed up for the high-risk pool created by the Accountable Care Act? Try using Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites to find people to interview. Are state officials encouraging enrollments, or ignoring the pool as a protest against the ACA? If they’re encouraging enrollments, are they  satisfied with the pace of sign-ups?
  • Individual mandate – What do people in your area think of the individual mandate in the ACA? Do they get the connection between requiring (almost) all to have coverage and having coverage available to the uninsurable at affordable rates?
  • Exclusions from the mandate. Who are the people in your area who will not be required to purchase insurance in 2014, and how many will there be? Are they mostly low-income individuals? Are there particular religions that will object? If people with exemptions don’t qualify, they won’t have to purchase insurance, but will they qualify for public programs such as Medicaid, or will they remain uninsured? How will they get access to health care?
  • Guaranteed issue for children with pre-existing conditions – How are insurers in your area reacting to the provision in the ACA that prevents them from using a pre-existing condition as a reason to refuse coverage to children? Are they using this provision as a rationale for raising rates? What difference is the provision making for children in your area who were previously not eligible for individual coverage because of a pre-existing condition?
  • Self-employed workers and early retirees –What is the experience of self-employed workers and early retirees who rely on individual health insurance? How does medical underwriting work? Which benefits are covered, and which are excluded? What does the coverage cost when first purchased? Does this change over time, especially when they get sick or age into a higher rate class?
  • Renewal practices – What happens now when individuals renew their policies? Do insurers in your market use “durational rating,” so that the same policy costs more to renew than to purchase initially? Do policyholders try to moderate premium increases by increasing deductibles or dropping important benefits?
  • Explore medical underwriting practices – Ask insurers/agents about conditions that are currently “uninsurable.” Are policies routinely offered to applicants who are pregnant? Cancer survivors? Depressed? 20 pounds overweight?
  • Explore coverage adequacy – How well do different policies pay for medical bills of policyholders who become sick, injured, or pregnant? What do providers do when a patient’s insurance doesn’t cover a needed service?
  • Regulatory capacity – Who is your state insurance commissioner? How many staff work for her/him to regulate health insurance?  Does the insurance commissioner review and question insurers about proposed premiums or premium increases? Does s/he approve rates, or can insurers charge premiums without approval?



Drew Altman, President and CEO, Kaiser Family Foundation, 650/854-9400

Stuart Altman, Professor of National Health Policy, Brandeis University, 781/736-3804,

Joseph Antos, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute, 202/862-5938,

Katherine Baicker, Professor of Health Economics, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard University School of Public Health, 617-432-5209,

Linda Blumberg, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute, 202/261-5769

Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute, 202/789-5200,

Deborah Chollet, Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research, 202/554-7528,

Gary Claxton, Vice President/Director, Health Care Marketplace Project, Kaiser Family Foundation, 202/347-5270

Sara Collins, Vice President, Affordable Health Insurance, The Commonwealth Fund, 212-606-3838,

Richard Curtis, President, Institute for Health Policy Solutions, 202/789-1491,

Michelle Doty, Assistant Vice President and Director of Survey Research and Analysis, The Commonwealth Fund, 212/606-3800,

Jon Gabel, Senior Fellow, National Opinion Research Center, 301-634-9313,

John Goodman, President, National Center for Policy Analysis, 972/308-6472,

Edmund Haislmaier, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, 202/546-4400

Robert Helms , Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, 202/862-5877,

Robert Laszewski, President, Health Policy and Strategy Associates, 703/727-9517 4

Barbara Lyons, Deputy Director, Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation, 202/347-5270,

Roland McDevitt , Director of Health Care Research, Towers Watson, 703/258-8000,

Jack Meyer, Principal, Health Management Associates, (202)785-3669,

Tom Miller, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, 202-862-5886,

Robert Moffit, Director, Center for Health Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation, 202/546-4400

Len M. Nichols, Professor of Health Policy and Director, Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, George Mason University, 703-993-1978,

Edwin Park, Co-Director of Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 510/524-8033

Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA, 202/628-3030, Communications Director: David Lemmon --

Uwe Reinhardt, James Madison Professor of Political Economy, Princeton University, 609/258- 4781

Jack Rodgers, Director, Economic Policy Analysis Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, 202/414-1646

Diane Rowland, Executive Vice President, Kaiser Family Foundation, 202/347-5270,

William Scanlon, Senior Policy Advisor, Health Policy R & D, 202/624-3975

Cathy Schoen, Senior Vice President, Policy, Research and Evaluation, The Commonwealth Fund, 212/606-3800,

Ken Thorpe , Professor and Chair, Rollins School of Public Health; Executive Director, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease Advisory Board, Emory University, 404/727-3373

Grace-Marie Turner, President, Galen Institute, 703/299-8900

Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, National Women's Law Center, 202/588-5180,


John Dicken, Director, Health Care, Government Accountability Office, 202/512-7043,

Mila Kofman , Superintendent of Insurance, Maine Bureau of Insurance, 207/624-8550,

Richard Rimkunas, Head, Health Insurance and Financing, Congressional Research Service, 202/707-7334


Brenda Craine, Director, Washington Media Relations, American Medical Association, 202/789-7447,

Alissa Fox, Senior Vice President, Office of Policy and Representation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, 202/626-8681,

George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente, 510/271-5660

Angela Hunter, Director of Federal Affairs, Council for Affordable Health Insurance, 703/836- 6200 x387,

Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans, 202/778-3200,

Charles Kahn, President, Federation of American Hospitals, 202/624-1500

Jeff Lemieux, Senior Vice President, Center for Policy and Research, America's Health Insurance Plans, 202/778-3200,

Frank McArdle, Principal, Hewitt Associates LLC, 202/331-1155

Janet Trautwein, Executive Vice President and CEO, National Association of Health Underwriters, 703/276-3806

Reed Tuckson, Senior Vice President, UnitedHealth Group, 952-936-1253,

Brian Webb, Manager, Health Policy and Legislation, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 202/471-3990,


1 U.S. Census Bureau (2012). "Table C-3. Health Insurance Coverage by Age: 1999-2011."


Most researchers believe Census data overstate the number of individual market participants, for example, by including in the count people with multiple sources of coverage. Others estimate the individual market to cover only about 14 million people. See, for example, “How Private Health Coverage Works: A Primer, 2008 Update” by the Kaiser Family Foundation at

2 Cited in: Douglas W. Elemendorf (2010). Letter to Honorable Nancy Pelosi.  Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, March 20. (

3 Medical underwriting is the process by which insurers assess the health and risk status of applicants. Applicants for a medically underwritten individual health insurance policy might be turned down, charged more, or offered a policy that permanently excludes coverage for their pre-existing condition.

4 "No Discrimination Due to Pre-Existing Conditions or Gender." September 2010;

5 "No Discrimination Due to Pre-Existing Conditions or Gender." September 2010;

6 McDevitt, Roland, Jon Gabel, Ryan Lore et al. (2010). “Group Insurance: A Better Deal for Most People than Individual Plans.” Health Affairs, January 2010, pp, 156-164.

7 McDevitt, Roland, Jon Gabel, Ryan Lore et al. (2010). “Group Insurance: A Better Deal for Most People than Individual Plans.” Health Affairs, January 2010, pp, 156-164.

8 McDevitt, Roland, Jon Gabel, Ryan Lore et al. (2010). “Group Insurance: A Better Deal for Most People than Individual Plans.” Health Affairs, January 2010, pp, 156-164

9 U.S. Census Bureau (2012). "Table C-3. Health Insurance Coverage by Age: 1999-2011."


10 U.S. Census Bureau (2012). "Table C-3. Health Insurance Coverage by Age: 1999-2011."


11 U.S. Census Bureau (2012). "Table C-3. Health Insurance Coverage by Age: 1999-2011."


12 AHIP Center for Policy and Research (2009). “Individual Health Insurance 2009: A Comprehensive Survey.” Key findings. (

13 Collins, Sara, Jennifer L. Kriss, Karen Davis, et al. (2006). “Squeezed: Why Rising Exposure to Health Care Costs Threatens the Health and Financial Well-Being of American Families.” The Commonwealth Fund, September, p. 3. (

14 "The Cost and Benefits of Individual & Family Health Insurance Plans." ehealth, November 2011;

15 Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research Educational Trust (2011). "2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey." Sept 2,

16 Calculated from figured in AHIP Center for Policy and Research (2009). “Individual Health Insurance 2009: A Comprehensive Survey.” ( and Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust (2010). “ Employer Health Benefits 2010 Annual Survey.” Exhibit 1.11. (

17 McDevitt, Roland; Jon Gabel, Ryan Lore, et al. (2010). “Group Insurance: A Better Deal For Most People Than Individual Plans.” Health Affairs, January, pp. 156-164.

18 Gabel, Jon, Jeremy Pickreign, Roland McDevitt, et al. (2007). “Trends In The Golden State: Small-Group Premiums Rise Sharply While Actuarial Values For Individual Coverage Plummet.” Health Affairs Web Exclusive, July/August. (

19 McDevitt, Roland, Jon Gabel, Ryan Lore, et al. (2010). “Group Insurance: A Better Deal For Most People Than Individual Plans.” Health Affairs, January, pp. 156-164.

20 "January 2011 Census Shows 11.4 Million People Covered by Health Savings Account/High-Deductible Health Plans (HSA/HDHPs)" AHIP, January 2011,

21 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Recent Premium Increases Imposed by Insurers Averaged 20 Percent for People Who Buy Their Own Insurance, Kaiser Survey Finds.” News release, June 21. (

22 Shea, David, Westerfield, Shari, and Wildsmith, Tom. "The Affordable Care Act: What Every Actuary Should Know." American Academy of Actuaries. February 2012;

23 "Average Per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010." Kaiser Family Foundation. 2010;

24 "Average Per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010." Kaiser Family Foundation. 2010;

25 "Average Per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010." Kaiser Family Foundation. 2010;

26 "Average Per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010." Kaiser Family Foundation. 2010;

27 "Average Per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010." Kaiser Family Foundation. 2010;

28 Kaiser Family Foundation (2007). “Individual Market Guaranteed Issue.” (

29 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010).  “Summary of the New Health Reform Law.” (

30 Deborah Chollet, Adele M. Kirk and Kosali Ilayperuma Simon (2000). “The Impact of Access Regulation on Health Insurance Market Structure.” See section on “State Regulation of Health, A. Guaranteed Issue and Renewal. (

31 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Individual Market Guaranteed Issue (Not Applicable to HIPAA Individuals) 2010.” (

32 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Individual Market Guaranteed Issue (Not Applicable to HIPAA Individuals) 2010.” (

33 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Individual Market Guaranteed Issue (Not Applicable to HIPAA Individuals) 2010.” (

34 Amanda E. Kowalski, William J. Congdon and Mark H. Showalter (2008). “State Health Insurance Regulations and the Price of High-Deductible Policies.” Forum for Health Economics and Policy, Vol. 11, Issue 2.

35 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010).  “Summary of the New Health Reform Law.” (

36 U.S. Census Bureau (2010). “Table HI02. Health Insurance Coverage Status and type of Coverage by Selectd Characteristics for People in the Poverty Universe: 2009, All Races.” (

37 The early retirees are those ages 55 to 64 who receive pension payments from the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation because their former employers went bankrupt or for other reasons can no longer pay these pensions. The trade-dislocated workers are those certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as having lost their jobs because of competition by foreign firms and who either receive Trade Adjustment Assistance cash payments or would qualify for such payments were it not for their receipt of unemployment insurance payments. See: Dorn, Stan (February 2008). “Health Coverage Tax Credits: A Small Program Offering Large Policy Lessons,” Urban Institute. (

38 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Health Insurance Subsidies in the Individual Market, as of February 2010.” ( For details, go to

39 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About the Temporary High-Risk Pool.” (

40 The Commonwealth Fund (2010). “Timeline for Health Care Reform Implementation: Health Insurance Provisions.” ( Coverage_040110_v4.pdf)

41 “Focus on Health Reform – Summary of the New Health Reform Law.” Kaiser Family Foundation. April 15, 2011;

42 Plans would also be allowed to offer a premium discount if enrollees participate in wellness programs. Congressional Research Service (2010), “Private Health Insurance Provisions in Senate-Passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” March 12.

43 Kaiser Family Foundation (2010). “Summary of Coverage Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Coverage Act.” April 28. (

44 The Commonwealth Fund (2010). “Timeline for Health Care Reform Implementation: Health Insurance Provisions.” ( Coverage_040110_v4.pdf )

45 The out-of-pocket cap for covered services will be the same as that for people who have health savings accounts. For 2011, these caps are $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families.

Kaiser Family Foundation. “Summary of Coverage Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Coverage Act.” (

46 Cafferty, Jack. “What's the future for President Obama's health care reform law?CNN. March 26, 2012;

Search Sourcebook
Please enter your search word or words below to search the current sourcebook.

How Health Reform Affects People Denied Coverage

Related Resources

01.14.2013 - Alaska Health Insurance Providers Warn that Premiums May Skyrocket, Alex DeMarban, Alaska Dispatch

The article outlines the financial effects of the Affordable Care Act when it comes to buying health insurance in Alaska in 2014.

11.17.2012 - Minnesota insurers position themselves for health exchange, Christopher Snowbeck, Pioneer Press

Insurers in Minnesota are being creative and coming up with new types of policies that will be available to individuals who must buy insurance on the state's exchange in 2014.

11.11.2012 - Would You Like Sprinkles on Your Insurance Policy, Kristy Eppley Rupon, The State

In a South Carolina mall, BlueCross BlueShield has opened a kiosk to sell health insurance plans to shoppers. The kiosk is a precursor to a retail shop to be opened in the near future.

09.04.2012 - Report: Young Mainers pay less for health coverage, elderly pay more under insurance law, Julie Appleby, Bangor Daily News

Even as many states gear up for tougher insurance regulations under the federal health law, Maine lawmakers last year bucked the trend, loosening rules they blamed for some of the highest premiums in the nation.

09.03.2012 - With High Deductibles, Some Drop Insurance and Pay Cash, Victoria Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle

Bypassing insurance, one consumer finds he can negotiate lower prices.

06.22.2012 - New cooperative will offer health insurance, Nancy Remsen (, Burlington Free Press (Vemont)

Now a group wants to create the state’s first health insurance cooperative called Vermont Health Co-op. The federal government will give the initiative a big boost — a $33.8 million loan to cover startup costs.

06.13.2012 - Bentley waits for ruling before deciding on exchange, Dana Beyerle (, Gadsden Times (Alabama)

Gov. Robert Bentley is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the national health care law and could create a health insurance exchange by executive order or within an existing state agency if the law is upheld.

06.08.2012 - Conn. doctors receive $76M federal loan to start health insurance co-op, Matthew Sturdevant (, Hartford Courant

Connecticut's largest group of doctors received federal approval and a $75.8 million federal loan to start a new consumer-oriented health plan that will compete directly with health insurers.

06.07.2012 - WVU eyes student insurance coverage, Ry Rivard (, Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia)

In an effort to offer low-cost health care to thousands of uninsured college students, West Virginia higher education officials want to create a new insurance plan.


Graphics for This Chapter

Sources of Health

Individual Market, Average Premiums by Age

Individual Market, Average Premiums by State

Age Distribution of People Covered by HSA/HDHPs, Individual Market, January 2011

Individual Market Premiums by Age

Average per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010


This sourcebook for journalists was made possible with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Copyright 1997-2017 Alliance for Health Reform
1444 Eye Street, NW, Suite 910 Washington, DC 20005-6573      202-789-2300      202-789-2233 fax      Sitemap