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Number of uninsured will keep rising

Jill Barshay Jul 21, 2009
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Number of uninsured will keep rising

Jill Barshay Jul 21, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: As the debate over health care continues in the United States Congress, there’s a new survey that says the number of the uninsured will keep going up. Blame it on smaller employers getting rid of health plans and a tough individual insurance market. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: Buying health insurance on your own is maddening. Lots of fine print, exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and the cost.

Sara Collins works at the Commonwealth Fund. It’s a nonpartisan health care foundation. She says the individual insurance market is getting worse.

Sara Collins: People who are buying their own health insurance are paying significantly more in premiums than people with employer-based coverage. But they’re getting a lot less for their money in terms of protection against high out-of-pocket costs and access to preventative care and other services that they need on a regular basis.

The Commonwealth Fund survey found 73 percent of people who tried to buy insurance on their own over the past three years ended up buying no insurance at all.

Collins says with many small businesses eliminating health benefits, the number of Americans without health insurance is sure to rise. Lawmakers agree the individual insurance market needs to change. They’re fighting over President Obama’s fix this week.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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