Many online health shoppers 'uninsurable'

Some of the leading health reform schemes being floated to solve the health coverage crisis--including the proposal advanced by Sen. John McCain--assume that individuals can benefit more by shopping for their health insurance on the open market than relying on employer policies. However, a new study suggests that it could be more difficult for individuals to obtain such policies than these reformers think.  

The study, by online health insurance service Norvax, analyzed data from 446,500 online insurance shoppers who'd either requested a quote or asked to be contacted by a broker. When they analyzed the data, researchers found that 15 percent of people looking for health insurance online were considered "uninsurable," either because they were obese or had pre-existing health conditions. 

Two-thirds of those considered uninsurable were women. While it's not clear why in this case, other studies have suggested that pregnancy or a prior c-section may be considered pre-existing conditions that lead to exclusions for some insurers.

To learn more about this study:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece