Health and the Cost of Nongroup Insurance

Fall 2003
Inquiry , Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 235-253
Jack Hadley, James D. Reschovsky

This analysis estimates a selection-adjusted model of the premium for nongroup insurance to measure the effect of health status on the cost of nongroup insurance. Using data from two recent national surveys, the probability of buying nongroup insurance is about 50% lower for people in fair or poor health compared to similar people in excellent health. Correcting for selection, premiums are about 15% higher for people with modest health problems, and 43% to 50% higher for people with major health problems compared to those in excellent health. We use the selection-corrected premiums to simulate the effects on the price and affordability of nongroup insurance for the uninsured under two recent tax credit proposals.

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