A new study has been released ranking the most and least expensive states for health insurance costs.
The study, carried out by personal finance site GOBankingRates.com, compared “silver” level plans with the lowest monthly premiums offered through the exchanges administered by the Affordable Care Act. Silver plans were used because, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, these are the most popular plans and account for two-thirds of plans purchased through exchanges.
According to the study, the 10 states with the most expensive health insurance costs were: New York, South Carolina, Alabama, New Jersey, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Indiana, Delaware, Wyoming, and Colorado.
The 10 most affordable states for health insurance were: New Mexico, Utah, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, and Idaho.
According to Elyssa Kirkham, the author of the study, “Higher insurance costs in many states are tied to high costs of living or being in rural areas. “Where costs of living are high…care is also likely to be more expensive, a cost which insurers pass to enrollees through higher premiums.”
“Competition is another key factor of health insurance costs,” Kirkham said. “In rural states like Wyoming and Oklahoma, fewer residents means a smaller health insurance market with fewer options, where insurers can charge more without losing customers.”
The costs of a plan were calculated based on an enrollee who is male, single, 40 years old, doesn’t smoke, is in good health, and earns $40,000 a year. This hypothetical enrollee also “lives in a major metropolitan area in the state,” meaning that the insurance cost consequences of living in a rural area are not reflected in this study.
In addition, a $40,000 annual salary places one in a much different economic bracket depending on the locality. For example, the median annual income in Boise, Idaho (the state’s largest city) is $49,182, not all that more than the figure the estimates were based on. In Washington, D.C., however, the median income is a much higher $90,000 (the highest in the nation).
It was stated that if the hypothetical enrollee qualified for a tax credit, the cited insurance cost would reflect that estimated deduction. Also, the lowest-cost silver level plans by state were ranked on four cost factors: the plan’s monthly premium, deductible, emergency care copay and copay for care from a primary physician.
To read the results of the study, go to: http://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/10-best-worst-states-health-insurance-costs/