Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009

If You Are Insured Independently

5% buy health insurance on the open market

Current Situation: People who purchase insurance on their own pay the highest premiums because they are not in a large risk pool and are evaluated based on their health profile. Choices for coverage are limited, and individuals often must buy insurance with after-tax dollars.

How Reform Could Affect You
The upside: Regulation could prevent insurers from setting rates based on health or turning people away because of pre-existing conditions. If offered, a public option is likely to be available for individuals from the start. Lower-income earners could be eligible for federal subsidies to help them purchase coverage.

The downside: It's hard for things to be any worse for people now buying their own insurance on the open market. Nearly all major aspects of reform would make this prospect easier and cheaper.