The growing individual insurance market

A new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the country’s individual insurance market grew 46 percent in the first year plans could be purchased on the marketplaces.

Shocking, right? The number of people buying insurance increased substantially once a federal law required people to have insurance coverage.

The increase brought the number of people who purchased plans on the individual market up to 15.5 million people (from 10.6 million in 2013), according to the report.

Those numbers don’t distinguish between coverage purchase through state-based or the federal exchanges and the individual market outside of the exchanges.

Four states – California, Florida, Texas and Georgia – accounted for nearly half of the country’s enrollment growth.

In six states – Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New York and Rhode Island – the number of people covered in the individual market increased by more than 75 percent.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the individual market covered increased by just 19 percent from 2013 to 2014.

According to the report, in 2013, Washington had 254,881 people with insurance through the individual market. In 2014, 303,784 people purchased plans through the market.

The only states with lower enrollment growth (not counting those states with incomplete enrollment data) are Colorado, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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