Insurance Premiums Vary Widely From State to State

FRIDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) — Monthly premiums for individual health insurance average $215 a person in the United States, but vary widely from state to state, a new report says.

In 2010, the average per-person premium ranged from about $136 a month in Alabama to more than $400 a month in Massachusetts and Vermont, according to an analysis from the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.

The foundation said the findings from the examination of data from insurer filings to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers consumers and policymakers a baseline to gauge the affordability of health insurance prior to full implementation of national health reform in 2014.

Some of the state-to-state variability in premiums is due to the fact that some states have already instituted reforms that enable people with pre-existing health conditions to buy coverage, while other states permit insurers to deny coverage to people with expensive illnesses.

Starting in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions or be able to charge people with illnesses substantially higher premiums due to the Affordable Care Act.

Other reasons for the wide differences in premiums include: an area’s cost of living, health care costs, demographics and regulatory requirements, along with plans’ benefits, cost-sharing structure and effectiveness of cost-control measures, the Kaiser Family Foundation said in a news release.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about health insurance.