Where to live for cheap health insurance

By Maryalene LaPonsie on November 25th, 2013

Minnesotans have access to many things: 10,000 lakes, the Mall of America and really cheap health insurance.

According to an analysis of premiums for silver tiered plans being offered on new government health insurance exchanges, Minnesota was the only state in the nation to have average monthly premiums of less than $200. LifeHealthPro reports mid-level health insurance plans there will set a 27 year-old back $192 a month.

Surprisingly, the most expensive state for health insurance coverage wasn't on the east or west coasts where the cost of living can be sky high. Instead, Wyoming gets the honor of having the most expensive silver-tiered health insurance with monthly premiums averaging $516 for a 27 year old applicant.

Seven states with monthly premiums exceeding $400

In addition to Wyoming, six other states have average premiums for silver-tiered plans exceeding $400 per month.

  • Alaska: $474
  • Mississippi: $448
  • Connecticut: $436
  • Vermont: $413
  • Maine: $403
  • Illinois: $403

Hawaii, Kentucky and Massachusetts did not have average health insurance rates available for comparison. For most of the remaining states, monthly premiums fell into the $300-$400 range.

All premiums are based upon coverage for a 27-year-old individual. Those who are older may pay more, but the health care reform law prohibits health insurance companies from taking gender or health status into account when setting premiums.

Four tiers of health insurance plans

The LifeHealthPro analysis considered silver-tiered plans which can be considered mid-level coverage.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, four tiers of health insurance coverage are available on the government administered exchanges.

  • Bronze: Plans that pay for 60 percent of the cost of covered benefits
  • Silver: Plans that pay for 70 percent of the cost of covered benefits
  • Gold: Plans that pay for 80 percent of the cost of covered benefits
  • Platinum: Plans that pay for 90 percent of the cost of covered benefits

Regardless of the tier, all medical insurance must provide coverage for essential health benefits in 2014. These benefits include mental health services, pediatric vision and dental care, maternity coverage and prescription drugs among others.

The health insurance exchanges are currently available for consumers to shop for plans although the government website has been hampered by technical problems. However, open enrollment on the exchanges will continue until March 31, 2014.

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