Examining Rise In Insurance Premiums For Early Retirees

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The Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday, as part of its series titled "Falling Through: Casualties of the Health Insurance Crisis," profiled a 62-year-old retired Pennsylvania woman who recently discovered that her Independence Blue Cross group HMO premiums will increase by more than 45%, from $6,384 to $9,336, in January 2009. The woman, who lives on a fixed income, is concerned about paying for living expenses while compensating for the increased premiums.

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The woman might be able to find less costly premiums through an individual insurance plan, provided she is in good health, according to Mark Pauly, a health policy expert at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. However, the woman is reluctant to leave her plan because she is secure in it, regardless of her health, until she becomes eligible for Medicare.

According to the Inquirer, although health coverage for people ages 55 to 64 "can be expensive," the age group is the most likely to be insured. In addition, only four million, or about 9%, of the 45 million U.S. residents without health insurance in 2007 were people ages 55 to 64, according to the Foundation (Vitez, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/4).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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