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Individual Health Insurance: Are You Ready For Change?

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.

Web Conference

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.


This Web-assisted audio teleconference was originally broadcast on April 24, 2002, via the World Wide Web and telephone. The User Liaison Program (ULP) of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed and sponsored the program.

Select to access Audio and Slides for the conference. Select for Software Requirements.


While listening to the audio, you can also access the PowerPoint® slide presentations and manually move through the slides referred to by each presenter. A text version of the slide presentation is available, along with a text transcript of the entire audio portion of the conference.

A complete set of audio tapes of the conference is also available for $10.00 through the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295. Ask for AHRQ02-AV06A, "Individual Health Insurance: Are You Ready for Change?"

Program Overview

One of the most frayed corners of America's health insurance patchwork quilt is the market for individual health insurance:

  • About 16 million Americans buy individual policies, mostly because they cannot obtain group coverage through employment and do not qualify for public programs like Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Individual policies generally cost more than comparable group plans because the administrative costs are higher and insurers perceive that individual applicants pose higher financial risks than group applicants.
  • Premiums paid for individual policies generally are taxable, while employer-paid health insurance premiums are not treated as taxable income.

Access to and the cost of individual coverage is very much dependent on a person's health status, age, place of residence, and other factors. For example:

  • Most States do not require insurers to accept all applicants or to use community rating methods in setting premiums. Therefore, insurers commonly use underwriting criteria to deny coverage or raise premiums for those in less-than-perfect health.
  • In a recent study, researchers found that consumers with common preexisting conditions were unable to obtain the coverage they sought at the standard rate 90 percent of the time.

The purpose of this teleconference was to examine recent research findings about the individual health insurance market and State regulatory options in the post-HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) era. This teleconference was designed to enable participants to:

  • Describe the kinds of individuals who seek to purchase individual coverage and the barriers they face regarding the availability and affordability of coverage.
  • Understand market dynamics, including the number of carriers, variety of products, and nature of competition among insurers.
  • Discuss the range of strategies States use for regulating the individual market and how these strategies relate to their regulations for the group market, HIPAA, and efforts to address the uninsured problem.
  • Identify key elements of recent Federal proposals related to individual health insurance and possible implications for States.

Audio, Transcripts, and Slides

PowerPoint® files can be viewed with Microsoft® PowerPoint® or with a free PowerPoint® Viewer.

Software Requirements

To access the audio clips, you will need Real® player software installed on your computer. To download a free RealOne® player, go to http://www.real.com and select "Free RealOne® Player." Check the minimum requirements for each for your system; if you are a Macintosh or Unix/Linux user, select the player appropriate for your computer.

Follow the instructions provided for download and installation. If you are unsure of where you saved it on your computer, select "Start" on your navigation bar, then "Find," and search for "Real." When you find the folder, look for the "Set-Up" box, select that, and the installation will begin.

Current as of July 2002


Internet Citation:

Individual Health Insurance: Are You Ready for a Change? Web Conference, broadcast on April 24, 2002. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/ulp/indinsurancetele/


 

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

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