Younger Americans Would Move to Improve This
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Mary Flaherty is planning to leave Massachusetts not for a job or schooling but to obtain cheaper health insurance.
"Massachusetts has high quality health insurance with great benefits, but I can't afford to pay $400 a month for coverage," said Flaherty.
The 21-year-old wants to relocate to Maryland where coverage will be among the cheapest in the country under the Affordable Care Act.
"Health care has become unaffordable to millions of Americans, shaking the foundation of a stable, prosperous future," said Jordanna Davis, a consultant with YourHealthCareSimplified.org.
A non-smoker, Flaherty could eventually enjoy health insurance for as little as $93 a month thanks to her youthful age and Maryland's health insurance exchange.
"I don't know how extensive the health coverage is but it's better than no coverage at all," Flaherty told MainStreet.
The recent high school graduate is one of the 28% of Americans who are considering moving to get cheaper and better quality health insurance, according to Bankrate.
"Premiums differ between states largely because the plans are governed by 50 different sets of state regulations," Davis told MainStreet. "Cheaper premiums can be found in Alabama, averaging $136 per person per month. Premiums in Arkansas, Delaware and Idaho are also under $170 per month."
A Bankrate study found that young adults between 18 and 29 years old are the most likely to consider relocating with more than four in ten saying that health insurance would factor into the decision.
Premiums can vary widely even within the same metropolitan area.
"This suggests that many people could move and get better, cheaper health insurance without having to upend their entire lives," said Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst with Bankrate.
Health insurance plans in Massachusetts are required to cover substantially more services than other states, which may explain why the state has higher premiums.
State by state differences can include how comprehensive the benefits are, whether or not beneficiaries can access out-of-network physicians and what deductibles and co-pays are part of the plan.
"These factors can have a major impact on the experience of a beneficiary within a plan," Davis said. "A cheap plan can actually be quite expensive for a person who gets sick."
While half of the 50 states are not expanding their Medicaid program, about one-third of the lowest-income respondents with annual household income under $30,000 would consider moving for health insurance reasons.
"Sometimes moving just a few miles can significantly improve your health insurance situation," said Whiteman.
About 40% of Americans say their monthly health care spending is higher than a year ago compared to the 5% who say it is lower.
"Health care costs have grown rapidly over the past ten years and premiums have followed suit," Davis said.