Affordability on California’s Individual Market

What policymakers need to know

Marian Mulkey, Principal, Mulkey Consulting
Katherine Wilson, Wilson Analytics


Affordability on California’s Individual Market: What Policymakers Need to Know describes consumer affordability challenges in California’s individual health insurance market. It is divided into the following sections:


This basic information will help you understand the individual market, including how it’s fundamentally different from employer-sponsored insurance. This section includes a review of basic health insurance vocabulary and concepts you need to understand to navigate a discussion around affordability.

Key ACA affordability provisions

This section explains two key provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that improved affordability for people buying coverage on the individual market.

Affordability on the individual market today

Data show how and why, despite great progress under the ACA, many Californians in the individual market still struggle to afford coverage and care. To help illustrate these issues, read the stories of Curtis, Carmen, and Sam — fictional characters who represent real-life scenarios faced by consumers in the individual market. Find out about the dilemmas, trade-offs, and financial burdens each one faces when purchasing and using their individual-market health coverage.

See the online version.