Previously I mentioned that Costco is one of my favorite stores. They have a sizable selection, but it’s the wholesale factor that keeps me going back. I can get 60 rolls of toilet paper for $20. In my apartment, storage space is hard to come by, but the long-term savings are too good to pass up.
Other than Costco, I do all my shopping at small, local businesses where I get much more variety, something that large retailers like Costco often lack. At these stores I get exactly what I want and the amount I need.
The same is true of health insurance on the individual market when compared to employer sponsored healthcare. The Philadelphia Business Journal points out that “in addition to being potentially a third or more less costly alternative to a COBRA plan, individual plans also serve people whose employers no longer offer health benefits; people who take early retirement, but are too young for Medicare; young adults who are no longer covered by their parents’ plan; people who need temporary coverage and people who are self employed.” You may not be getting Costco prices (or in this case employer sponsored insurance pricing), but you’ve still got a big range to choose from.
The individual market offers a larger set of specifically tailored plans for those unable to get employer sponsored plans. For example, United Healthcare is just one insurer that “has a variety of plan options and a wide range of prices. A nonsmoker in his or her late 20s living in Philadelphia would likely pay between $43 and $197 a month, depending on the options and deductibles selected, while a family of four living in the city would likely pay from $125 to $841 in monthly premiums.”
Ellen Laden, of UnitedHealthcare says their hope is to “cover people no matter what phase they are in their lives.”