Affordable, quality health care. For everyone.

Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market Is Not a Viable Option for Most U.S. Families

Between 2001 and 2007, an increasing share of adults with private insurance—whether employer-based coverage or individual market plan—spent a large amount of their income on premiums and out-of-pocket medical costs, were underinsured, and/or avoided needed health care because of costs. Those with coverage obtained in the individual market were the most affected. Over the last three years, nearly three-quarters of people who tried to buy coverage in this market never actually purchased a plan, either because they could not find one that fit their needs or that they could afford, or because they were turned down due to a preexisting condition. Even people enrolled in employer-based plans are spending larger amounts of their income on health care and curtailing their use of needed services to save money. The findings underscore the need for an expansion of affordable health insurance options, particularly during a time of mounting job losses.

Publication Details

Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Citation:

M. M. Doty, S. R. Collins, J. L. Nicholson, and S. D. Rustgi, Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market Is Not a Viable Option for Most U.S. Families, The Commonwealth Fund, July 2009.

Experts

Michelle M. Doty
Vice President, Survey Research and Evaluation, The Commonwealth Fund
Sara Collins
Vice President, Health Care Coverage and Access, The Commonwealth Fund
Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention