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Growing market seen

Many smaller insurers athwart the state have insured individuals for years. Even Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has always insured a number of individuals, but for large insurers like the Blues, their bread-and-butter conventionally has been in group business.

In the past year, however, Blue Cross and its HMO arm have launched more than a few new or revamped products, as well as a plan designed for 19- to 30-year-olds called Young Adult Blue, high-deductible plans well-matched with a health savings account, and a pilot plan intended for displaced autoworkers.

Aetna's individual plans comprise traditional plans, high-deductible plans similar in temperament with health savings accounts, hospital coverage and not obligatory dental coverage.

Most accepted in Michigan is a $2,500-deductible PPO plan that requires members to pay 20 percent in-network co-insurance up to a $2,500 maximum. The plan includes prescription profit and optional dental coverage.

Individual health insurance will only grow, industry watchers say.

"We can expect to see double digits (in growth) in the next few years," said Rick Murdock, executive director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans.



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