Individual Health Insurance

January 1, 2010

This article breaks down the individual

Most Americans are covered by some type of group health insurance and relatively few are covered by individual health insurance. Only about 6% of Americans buy their own health insurance but the number is expected to climb as high as 25% over the next five years due to a combination of legislative and market forces. The laws that govern individual health insurance are much different from the laws for group health insurance. In genral, individual health insurance has fewer legislative requirements. Consequently, individual health insurance typically provides less coverage at a lwoer price.

Americans are not required to maintain health insurance. While most Americans receive health insurance as a voluntary employee benefit, employers are not required to offer this coverage and employees are not required to participate. While every state has a requirement for citizens to carry automobile insurance and other types of commercial insurance, only one state has successfully passed legislation requiring health insurance. That state is Massachusetts, and the new law will be phased in starting in 20071.

Market Segments:

Under 30 - Purchase of health insurance by young adults, especially among college students, is frequently prompted by their mother. MedSave.com notes that the peak enrollment date for insurance in this age group is the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, presumably because college-aged children have spent time at their parents' home.

Job Change - Working people of any age who change jobs usually have a gap in group health insurance. The gap is covered by short term medical insurance. Short term medical insurance is available in 46 states, It provides fast and easy high quality protection but does not pay for the costs of pre-existing medical conditions. When a significant pre-existing medical condition exists, conversion of the former group health insurance coverage is possible.

Over 50 - Workers leaving full time employment in favor of reduced hours or employment as an independent contractor typically seek high quality renewable coverage with a high deductible.


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