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April 06, 2006

A level playing field for health insurance

Most people get their health insurance as a benefit from their employers. And those who don't often end up paying higher rates. N.C. State University's Mike Walden explains why.

"Actually this goes back to World War II when companies were constrained in passing along salary increases, and they were allowed, however, to give benefits like health insurance," says Dr. Walden, a North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist. "The problem this creates is that it makes it much more expensive for someone to buy health insurance apart from their employer.

"Those health insurance policies are much more expensive again when you consider this tax break that employees are able to get via employer-provided health insurance.

"So one proposal that people have bandied around is we ought to have a level playing field here, because there are a lot of people who can’t get insurance through a company. So what we ought to do is allow the same tax benefits for individually purchased health insurance policies that companies now get when they provide those policies."

Posted by deeshore at April 6, 2006 08:00 AM