NU Online News Service, Oct. 23, 12:19 p.m. – The Health Insurance Association of America, Washington, says that its recent survey of insurance companies actively marketing individual medical policies shows that a large majority of people who lack employer-sponsored health insurance can easily obtain affordable coverage from an individual policy.

Even in states that allow insurers to consider the applicants’ health, nearly nine out of every 10 properly completed applications for individual health insurance result in an offer of coverage, HIAA says.

Seventy one percent of completed applications for an individual policy resulted in an offer of full coverage at standard rates, while an additional 22% received offers of insurance with limits on the coverage, or at higher than standard premiums, or both, the association says.

Fewer than 12% of all completed applications submitted to the companies surveyed were declined because of health reasons, the association says.

The study recaps information suggesting that insurance companies have kept premiums for an individual health insurance policy affordable. An association survey released in July found that the average premium for coverage of a single individual is about $172 per month, while the average monthly premium for a family is about $334.

The study says that, with the lack of an employer contribution and, for many, the inability to deduct premiums for income tax purposes, consumers in the individual market may choose to buy somewhat less coverage than the typical employee benefit plan. Even so, the survey shows that individual health insurance is readily available and affordable, the association says.

The study may overstate the number of people denied coverage for health reasons because people in poor health may apply with multiple insurers, the association says.

The survey on availability of coverage examined data for more than 500,000 applications, and the premium survey included nearly 700,000 persons with single coverage and over 1.3 million with family coverage.