Prices jump for individual insurance premiums

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77 percent of those who buy their own coverage have had cost increases

Wellpoint — a big health insurer sharply criticized by the Obama Administration for seeking to raise rates up to 39 percent for some California policyholders earlier this year — was not unusual in seeking double-digit increases, a new survey finds.

People who buy their own health insurance report the most recent rate increase requests have averaged 20 percent, according to the survey released Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is a part of the foundation.)

The foundation surveyed just over 1,000 people who don’t get insurance from their employer, finding that 77 percent reported an increase with their current or previous insurer. Most paid the increase. But 16 percent switched to less expensive plans, either to one offered by their insurer or to one from a different insurer. As a result of those who switched, the average increase for all respondents was 13 percent.

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