Individual healthcare premiums soar

Feb. 20, 2009 at 2:29 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The price of individual healthcare insurance is soaring just as group options are fading with thousands of U.S. jobs being cut, various insurers said.

Anthem Blue Cross in California has told 800,000 individual policyholders of increases, some as high as 30 percent, USA Today reported Friday. Blue Cross or Michigan said it was asking the state for a 56 percent increase for individual policies. Regent Blue Shield of Oregon said 10,000 policyholders will have rates raised 27.1 percent March 1.

In contrast, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported premiums for group plans paid by employers rose 5 percent in 2008.

Ironically, that's part of the problem individual policy costs are rising. Smaller pools of policyholders in work-based plans, could contribute to "higher rate increases than in the past," Sally Rosen, a managing senior financial analyst at A.M. Best, told USA Today.

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