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"Oh, yea I saw the prices of that policy, thought I'd die cheaper..."

Health Insurance (High Cost)

The individual insurance market is too expensive and out-of-reach of most Americans seeking coverage, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund. Some 73% of those who tried to buy insurance through the individual market in the past three years ended up not getting a policy, mainly because of the high cost. And 36% said that they were denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or a medical problem excluded from coverage, according to the report.

Half of those with individual policies spent more than 10% of their income on premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and faced problems such as lack of drug coverage or strict limits on treatment coverage. The findings were from the Commonwealth Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey of about 3,500 adults conducted by telephone in 2007.

The report follows others critical of the individual market, which covers about 6% of adult Americans under age 65. As part of comprehensive health reform, insurers have agreed to end exclusions for pre-existing conditions in this market, and ratings based on gender and health status.

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