No matter how old you are, what career you’re in, or the condition of your health, it’s important to seek out health insurance quotes every year you buy coverage.
Even if you receive health insurance from an employer, it’s likely you have more than one option to choose from. And, if you buy coverage on your own, shopping around for a plan and comparing quotes is even more important.
The reality is, Americans are receiving less and less for their healthcare dollars each year while also facing rising costs.
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that annual premiums for employer-based coverage rose 5% in 2018 to $19,616.
For families buying their own coverage on an exchange, premiums and deductibles also went up considerably last year, although how much depends on where you live.
Factors Affecting Health Insurance Quotes
If your goal is saving money on health insurance, it’s crucial to know which factors play a role in costs and what you can do about them. Here’s what you need to know:
According to Healthcare.gov, health insurance premiums can be up to three times higher for older people than younger consumers.
This helps ensure younger people pay less according to their age, but it also limits the amount older people can be charged.
The older you are, the higher the level of risk you pose to the insurance company.
If your household income is less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL), you may qualify for subsidies that can lower the cost of health insurance premiums.
If your income is especially low, you may also qualify for cost-sharing subsidies that can help cover ongoing costs.
With a bit of research, you could find yourself eligible for income-based subsidies that could make health insurance far more accessible.
Did you know that where you live impacts your health insurance costs?
Health insurance premiums vary drastically around the country, and sometimes even from county to county. If you live in an area where residents tend to be healthier statistically, you can expect to have lower rates overall.
Much like life insurance, the amount you pay for health insurance premiums and the coverage you can obtain will be heavily influenced by whether or not you use tobacco products.
In fact, insurance companies can charge up to 50% more for individuals who use tobacco products. This increase in premiums reflects the higher healthcare costs most tobacco users face.
One factor you may not expect to impact your health insurance rates that certainly does is the size of your family.
The bigger your family, the higher your health insurance rates will be.
Again, underwriters approach your policy with the goal of assessing the risk you pose to the company and the cost of covering you.
Types of Plans
Health insurance plans in the post-ACA area are offered in four different tiers
- Gold, and
Each level comes with its own benefits, so you want to be sure to research each option to determine which one fits your budget and the amount of coverage you need.
Bronze plans, for instance, tend to be less expensive and come with higher deductibles, while Premium plans come with lower deductibles (or no deductible) and higher monthly costs.
Bronze plans also represent the highest out-of-pocket costs after your coverage kicks in, while Platinum plans tend to keep your ongoing healthcare costs (outside of premiums) lower.
The following chart shows how much each plan pays and when each might be a good choice:
|The company pays:||You pay:||Good choice if:|
|Bronze||60.00%||40.00%||You want to keep monthly premiums low and dont mind higher out-of-pocket costs.|
|Silver||70.00%||30.00%||You want low premiums but more coverage than Bronze plans offer.|
|Gold||80.00%||20.00%||Youre willing to pay more each month to have a lower deductible and more of your routine healthcare costs covered.|
|Platinum||90.00%||10.00%||You typically spend a lot on healthcare each year and you want to pay higher premiums to avoid big out-of-pocket costs.|
If you’re curious about how much you might pay for a health insurance plan this year, remember that health insurance quotes vary dramatically depending on where you live, your family size, and other factors.
Consider these sample quotes as you continue your research:
Sample Quote #1:
- Couple in Warren County, Iowa
- Both age 59
- Income over 400% FPL
Sample plans available:
- UnitedHealthcare plan for $162.70 per month with $12,500 deductible
- Companion Life plan for $394.34 per month with $5,000 deductible
- United Healthcare plan for $196.60 per month with $10,000 deductible
Sample Quote #2:
- Couple with two kids in Noblesville, Indiana
- Both adults age 39 and two kids ages 8 and 10
- Income over 400% FPL
Sample plans available:
- AmBetter Essential Care 2 Plan with HSA for $721 per month with $13,200 deductible
- AmBetter Balanced Care 1 Plan for $805 per month with $11,000 deductible
- Ambetter Secure Care 1 Plan for $983 per month with $2,000 deductible
Top 3 Health Insurance Providers
Just like any other industry, the health insurance industry has an array of companies with different levels of quality and a wide range of ratings.
It’s important to check these ratings if you want to gauge the professionalism and quality of the company you plan to buy health insurance from.
Fortunately, J.D. Power conducts research each year in order to rank health insurance companies based on customer satisfaction and other factors.
Here are a few of the top companies in 2018 per J.D. Power and consumer sentiment:
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Kaiser Permanente offer healthcare plans that can be tailored to meet your family’s unique needs.
They offer coverage for individuals and families as well as access to both Medicaid and Medicare for those who qualify. Many Kaiser plans let you choose your own doctor — and change your doctor when required.
Some also come with special features like wellness coaching, health and lifestyle programs, and reduced rates on gym memberships.
UnitedHealthcare offers a wide variety of family-oriented health insurance plans along with the option to add on coverage for vision or dental.
They also offer temporary family plans that can cover your immediate healthcare needs in between permanent plans.
United Healthcare, which offers plans underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, has received an A+ rating from A.M. Best.
Aetna is another highly-rated health insurance company that offers plans to individuals and families and employers.
Their individual and family plans can be tailored to meet your needs and budget, and some plans even come with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
Some Aetna health insurance plans also allow you to add additional coverage for dental care.
The Bottom Line
If you’re searching for health insurance quotes for yourself or your family, we cannot overstate the importance of shopping around.
Health insurance is a competitive business, but that doesn’t mean all pricing is the same. By shopping around, you will put yourself in the best position to find the most affordable plan that also fits your lifestyle and goals.
As you search for a provider, also keep in mind that your options may be limited based on where you live.
Some areas of the country only have a few insurance companies in operation, and that’s even more likely if you buy a plan through Healthcare.gov or your state exchange.