As consumers move between states they typically consider the cost of living, the housing market and how much they will be paid but they may not think about the cost of health insurance.
Unfortunately, the cost of health insurance coverage varies greatly between states.
In the individual health insurance market the following are the five most expensive states to get coverage (most expensive to least expensive):
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
The five least expensive states to get individual coverage include (least expensive to most expensive):
In Massachusetts the average individual monthly premium is $437 or $5,244 per year. For a family of four, this number would grow pretty quickly compared to states with more affordable coverage. In Alabama the average individual premium is $136 per month or $1,632 per year — much more affordable than the states on the east coast.
Why do health insurance rates vary from state to state?
The rates depend on the state and the number of coverage mandates. For instance, Massachusetts has an individual mandate requiring all residents to purchase health insurance and it is a guaranteed issue state. New York is also a guaranteed issue state which means that individuals are guaranteed coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Some states also have mandates for particular coverage or benefit levels. Those levels could include maternity coverage, infertility treatment, autism coverage, mental health benefits and many more. Typically the more coverage that is mandated, the more expensive health insurance is in that state.