As health care costs continue to rise, there has been steady erosion in the proportion of workers covered under employer-based plans, as well as in the adequacy of such coverage. Workers forced to turn to the individual insurance market often find coverage unaffordable or unavailable, while families with employer coverage face ever-rising deductibles and other cost-sharing burdens. This study uses the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2005, to examine the experience of adults ages 19 to 64 in the individual insurance market compared with adults with employer-based coverage. Compared with adults with employer coverage, adults with individual market insurance give their health plans lower ratings, pay more out-of pocket for premiums, face higher deductibles, and spend a greater percentage of income on premiums and health care expenses. The report also analyzes the implications of rising out-of-pocket spending among all privately insured Americans, particularly focusing on the effect of high deductibles.
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