Several studies have been done to determine how much does insurance cost, especially with the October, 1, 2013 launch of the health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare).
For instance, eHealth, Inc. reports that the national US average for individual health insurance costs was $183 per month for the year 2011. The average family premium health insurance cost was $414 in that period.
The report additionally found that the deductible individually-purchased health insurance plan for the same period was $3,879 for families and $2,935 for individuals.
According to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report, the lowest insurance premium rates for a 40-year old would cost about $146 in Baltimore.
The 40-year old individual would be eligible for tax credits that would lower the premium to $111 if his/her annual income is $29,000.
The report also shows that a New Yorker aged 25 and earning an annual income of $25,000 may pay only about $62 monthly for health insurance while in Vermont the same individual would not have to pay anything for insurance.
The Affordable Care Act is expected to increase enrollment by about 25 million US citizens by the year 2018 to the insurance exchange plans.
The act bars insurers from denying anyone health coverage or raising the amount of premium poor people have to pay or charging women higher premiums compared to men.
The act allows insurers to charge their older customers only up to thrice the amount of premium they charge their youngest customers.
Currently, self-employed individuals find it very challenging to find affordable healthcare insurance. On top of that, they have to pay tax on each premium for their insurance plan. Self-employed individuals make up almost 10% of the US labor force.
Under the Affordable Care Act, self-employed individuals will now get more competitive rates from the marketplace exchanges.
Currently, less than 40% of Americans earning less than $24,000 annually have access to health insurance and those who have rely on Medicaid (government insurance). Under the Affordable Care Act, low income families will receive subsidies that will enable them get comprehensive affordable health care insurance.
The bronze plan will give low income individuals and families cover for essential benefits to about 60% of the total costs.
One may also upgrade to a silver plan and this will provide cover of 70% of the total medical costs. The silver plan has less out-of-pocket expenses and the monthly subsidy will discount the monthly premiums to about $179.
The gold and platinum plans will lead to higher premiums but you will pay less out-of-pocket costs when you have to seek treatment.
How to Choose Your Plan
Will the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans available, it may get a little confusing on which one you should go with.
There are some basic factors you need to look at when making your choice. Of course, your income level will play a big part in your decision. How much can you afford to pay for health insurance costs?
Another factor in determining the cost of insurance you should pay is the number of hospital visits you and your dependents make annually. If you frequently visit the hospital then you need an insurance cover that requires you to pay very little out-of-pocket charges.
This means your ideal cover will be the platinum of gold plans rather than the bronze and silver. However, if you do not make frequent visits to the hospital then you can save a lot by paying lower premiums on the bronze or silver plans.