I clearly did something terribly wrong when getting my health insurance.
I confess to complete and total shock that seven of the top 10 most affordable large cities (when it comes to health insurance for individual adults) are in California. Since when is California (big-city California anyway) the most affordable at anything?
And how did I end up paying over $200/month...apparently in San Jose you can get health care for as low as $58/month...with a lower deductible than I have now! OK, yes, I'm not 30 anymore, but still.
Anyway, read on for more results, a link to the entire report and my incredulous commentary...
First things first, here's the link to the full report.
They outline the methodology, and it's pretty simple:
They took a hypothetical 30 year old man and 30 year old woman, non-smokers with no pre-existing conditions and used their own site to find health plans in the 50 largest cities in the U.S. the chose plan could have no more than a $1000 deductible and no more than a 20$ co-pay once the deductible was met.
There are more details, but that gives you the idea. They did the entire shebang during the week of March 5th, 2005.
The interesting thing is that they also provide a few examples of people who did go for higher deductibles and how much further their monthly premiums dropped. This makes the most sense when you have the discipline to use the money you save wisely. I mean it won't help you so much to have a $5K deductible for your health insurance that's designed for a "catastrophic" occurrence...and then you have that catastrophe and coming up with the $5K is impossible.
San Jose, CA is #5 on the most affordable list for single women. I have clearly screwed up my health insurance choices! Once I read this report I went on eHelthInsurance.com's site and entered my info. And yes, many plans came up that look more affordable than what I have. But I think I'll wait until after my mammogram next week to think about moving!
Anyway, the report reinforces exactly what we've talked about before about state regulations impacting health costs in unintended negative ways. Those East Coast cities with Guaranteed Issue and Community Rating regulations are the least affordable cities on the list... the difference between California and New York is HUGE. And eHealthInsurance.com is not at all shy about pointing that out in the report either (which does sort of offset the general altruistic tone of the report in general IMHO.)
The larger purpose of the report is clear, though: convince those 25 to 34-year-olds, who are the largest segment of the uninsured, and currently represent ten million, or 23% of the total uninsured population, that they actually can afford to get basic health insurance. That they have the option to do so.
While some of my intrepid commenters in the past have implied that people go without health coverage because they want to (sort of like being homeless because you really want to be, right?) I would be more likely to believe that many of these young adults can afford health insurance, but don't realize it. Certainly I would agree that younger people may look at the trade-offs and decide they're young and healthy and will take the risk to go without health insurance (like no one ever gets hit by cars.) But the fact is that fewer of them would take that risk if it cost them $60 per month vs. $260.
Anyway, all props to my own California for being very health-coverage friendly. Who'd a thunk?