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Premiums Rise 18 Percent For Non-Employer Health Insurance

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: April 17, 2008

People who buy their own health insurance saw their average annual premiums rise 18 percent between 2002 and 2005, a modest increase compared to the 34 percent jump in average premiums for people insured through their employers, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

But the annual cost of these non-employer policies are paid entirely out of pocket. Average annual premium for a one-person policy was $2,835 in 2005, up from $2,531 in 2002. Annual premiums for family policies were $5,568 in 2005, up from $4,442 in 2002.

The new AHRQ analysis also found that:

  • Among those under age 65, about 12 million Americans, or less than 5 percent, were covered by policies purchased in the non-employer market in 2005. That compared to 174 million, or 67 percent, covered by employer-based health insurance.
  • For people with company-sponsored insurance, average annual premiums paid out of pocket rose from $1,231 to $1,655 between 2002 and 2005.
  • About 70 percent of non-employer policies were single coverage and 30 percent were for family coverage.
  • Premiums for non-employer policies differ by age of policyholders. One-person premiums were $1,580 for policyholders under age 40 and $4,288 for policyholders aged 55-64.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Premiums in the Individual Health Insurance Market for Policyholders under Age 65: 2002 and 2005.

For more information or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bruce Seeman at, or call 301-427-1998.

Current as of April 2008


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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