In the United States, the cost of health insurance can vary significantly between companies. Having an understanding of how much health insurance should cost will help consumers avoid overpaying for health insurance.
Health Insurance can cost, on average, around $574 a month for one person while paying for family coverage can easily be twice that. This will, of course, vary depending on employer contributions when it comes to out of pocket cost for the employee.
There are factors that can affect the overall cost of health insurance such as gender, families, the type of plan you want, as well as overall health and habits. This article will explore all of those factors and how they affect health insurance costs.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Health Insurance
There are several factors that can affect the cost of your health insurance premiums. Some of these may not affect consumers depending on location, employer, or policy type. However, it is important to know the factors that could increase your costs.
There is no fixed price for health insurance. While there are averages, it is important to know that those averages there are many factors that can play a part in the costs. Some of these factors are out of the consumer’s control while others such as habits and health are fully in their control.
This may surprise some people, especially if they are new to purchasing their own health insurance policy, but gender does affect the cost of your premium. Young males who are single will pay significantly less for their health insurance than a woman of the same and relationship status.
This is mostly due to the fact that women bear children. This is not something men will need to be worried about. The cost of having a baby is high and insurance companies compensate for that with higher premiums.
Age will also play a critical role in how much health insurance costs. A younger individual who has a history of being healthy will always pay a lower premium for health insurance than an older healthy person.
Age alone will eventually become a health condition in the eyes of the health insurance companies. However, there are a small number of states that do not take age into consideration when pricing health insurance.
If consumers happen to live in New Hampshire, New York, or Hawaii their premiums won’t go up due to age. But for those who live in the other 47 states will see their premiums rise as they get older.
Getting health insurance for a spouse through any type of health insurance will be more expensive than only insuring yourself. There are a few reasons for this.
The first reason is simply that the policy now insures two people. The risk for the insurance company goes up. Also, the fact that the couple will eventually have children is taken into consideration as well.
As we mentioned in the gender section, childbirth is expensive so insurance companies consider that when providing insurance for a married couple.
Being single does have its advantages when it comes to health insurance premiums. Single men and women will enjoy lower premiums while married couples will be paying close to double what their single counterparts pay.
The overall health of the employee or person trying to get coverage will be taken into consideration in regards to price. Premiums will rise if a person, or a member of the covered family, has a chronic or pre-existing health condition.
There are also circumstances or conditions that will prohibit health insurance coverage from being issued at all. This is true for privately procured health insurance as well as employer-provided health insurance.
For those with health conditions that have been caused by failing to take care of themselves, these can often be remedied with exercise and healthy eating habits to gain access to lower health insurance costs.
To get the lowest prices possible for health insurance it is imperative to take care of yourself. Keeping your body healthy is the best way to keep your premiums low.
Health insurance companies also take into consideration some of the habits that could affect long-term health. Pricing can go up for some people if they smoke, for example. Smokers do ten to have higher health insurance premiums than non-smokers.
That is the most common habit that is known to affect health insurance premiums. This habit can double health insurance costs because of the long-term negative effects it has on the health of a human being.
If an individual does take the initiative to quit smoking, the premiums still may be high for a while however, they can go down depending on the number of years since quitting.
Where You Live
Your location can also affect the price of your health insurance premiums. This factor doesn’t raise premiums as much as the other factors on our list, however, it can affect the overall health insurance cost.
The price difference is more of a regional difference rather than a state to state difference. The location with the highest premiums for families is the Northwest while it seems like the Northeast has high individual rates.
Cost Factors Bottom Line
The bottom line when it comes to factors affecting the price of health insurance premiums comes down to two factors.
The two things that affect price more than any of the other factors are your age as well as your smoking history. Smoking affects the price of health insurance even more than being a female of childbearing age.
Age is also a big factor. Because there are health concerns that naturally arise with age the risk increases every year for the health insurance companies and they pass that risk onto the consumer with the price.
While consumers can’t control the fact that they age, they can control the other important factor. Choosing not to smoke will keep your health insurance costs lower than those who take up the habit.
How Do Most People Get Health Insurance?
There are three main ways individuals and families can get health insurance. Not all of the options are available to the general population and will depend on life and work circumstances.
Employer Subsidized Health Insurance
If someone is employed by a company or business that offers employer-subsidized health insurance, the employee will only be responsible for paying part of the insurance premium.
This is the most common way individuals and families receive access to insurance in the United States. The employee part of the cost will vary from employer to employer. Some companies pay the full insurance premium for a basic level of insurance coverage while others may only pay a certain percentage.
The cost will also depend on what plan type the employee wants to choose and what their health care needs are. A single person will have a lower premium because they won’t need the amount of health care as a family.
Several years ago the healthcare marketplace was put into place to allow United States citizens to be able to source private health insurance with the help of tax breaks to make it affordable.
This is available to those who are employed but are not offered health insurance coverage as well as those who are self-employed and need affordable health insurance options for them and their families.
These health insurance plans are often the same plan providers one might see from employer coverage. However, instead of employer contribution, there is a tax credit that can be either applied to the premium or applied to your tax return as a credit.
Government Issued Health Insurance
Government-issued health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, are typically free of charge but there are strict qualifications. This is often for those out of work, older retired people, or children with no other health insurance options.
There is an extensive application to find out if you qualify and is 20% to 30% less common than the other two types of health insurance on the list. There is also supplemental Medicaid for certain situations.