Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Where do Obamacare plans cost the most?

If you find health insurance plans on Affordable Care Act exchanges too pricey, learn what your other options are for buying medical coverage.

By QuinStreet Feb 14, 2014 12:12PM
This post comes from Mark Chalon Smith at partner site Insurance.com.

Insurance.com on MSN MoneyAnyone shopping for health insurance in a Colorado resort town may feel like closing the laptop and schussing the slopes to ease frustration. These areas were just named the most expensive for medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act.


Insurance Money © Comstock Images/JupiterimagesKaiser Health News -- which says its findings are based on recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the federal HealthCare.gov website and state exchanges -- gives Colorado's Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties (including Aspen and Vail ski getaways) the highest premiums, at $483 a month.


Rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada are not far behind, as is a Connecticut suburb of New York City, all of Alaska and most of Wyoming.


The premiums are based on the lowest price "silver" plan, which is mid-level coverage that most consumers are buying through the exchanges.


Here are the 10 most costly areas, based on monthly premiums, according to Kaiser Health News:


  1. $483 -- Colorado mountain resorts (Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties). Also, premiums in Colorado's Summit County are $462
  2. $461 -- Southwest Georgia (Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Schley, Sumter, Terrell and Worth counties)
  3. $456 -- Rural Nevada (Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Elko, Mineral, Pershing, White Pine and Churchill counties)
  4. $445 -- Western Wisconsin (Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties)
  5. $423 -- Southern Georgia (Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Early, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Miller, Seminole, Thomas, Tift and Turner counties).
  6. $405 -- Most of Wyoming, but excluding Natrona and Laramie counties
  7. $399 -- Southeast Mississippi (George, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties). Also, the lowest price plan in Hancock County is $447
  8. $395 -- All of Vermont
  9. $383 -- Southwest Connecticut (Fairfield County)
  10. $381 -- All of Alaska

The Kaiser report says the lofty premiums in Colorado can be blamed on high costs for medical care in those areas. In other pricey regions, insurers are able to ask for more money because there is a limited number of hospitals and specialists available to patients.


"High individual insurance rates also reflect the extra costs that come when locals tend to be in poor health and where large numbers of people lack employer-sponsored insurance, leaving providers with more charity cases and lower-reimbursed Medicare patients," according to the report.


Health insurance options beyond the health insurance exchanges

The ACA requires that the uninsured have coverage by the March 31 deadline or face a penalty. The fine in 2014 is $95 or 1 percent of an individual's taxable income, whichever is higher. The penalty climbs to $325 in 2015 and $695 by 2016.


Subsidies are available to help shoulder costs for those who qualify. Consumers are eligible for a tax credit if they earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level -- that's $94,200 for a family of four in 2013. The tax credits are not available for health insurance purchased outside the exchanges.


You can shop for insurance through the government-run exchange in your state, but there are other options:

  • Can you get it at work? Most employer-sponsored plans meet minimum standards set by the feds; your boss should have notified you of that by Oct. 1. Keep in mind, though, that most employer-based plans have open enrollment in the fall. Your workplace can give you the specific details, including deadlines.
  • Does an employer's plan cover spouses or dependents? Most work-based health plans extend benefits to spouses, even though they aren't legally required to. Again, check with your employer. Also, anyone under 26 can remain on their parent's medical plan, even if they already have access to health insurance elsewhere, don't live with them or are married.
  • Do you qualify for a government health insurance plan? The ACA says you're covered if you have Medicare or Medicaid; your kids are covered if they receive benefits under the Children's Health Insurance Program. Medicare is usually eligible to anyone 65 or older, have a disability or end-stage renal disease. You have a seven-month period (starting three months before your 65th birthday) to sign up for Medicare at the government's Medicare.gov site. If you don't sign up then, you can enroll from Jan. 1 to March 31 of each year. Medicaid eligibility, which has been expanded under the ACA, is based on income and family size. Do you qualify? You can fill out an application at your state's health insurance exchange to find out. You can also see if your kids can be covered through the Children's Health Insurance Program.
  • Go directly to a health insurer. Some companies that offer medical coverage -- - including United Healthcare, Humana, Aetna, Cigna and Coventry -- aren't participating at some of the exchanges. But, of course, they're still selling health insurance.

You can get relevant information by checking out their websites, talking to their representatives or working with an insurance agent. These companies may provide a larger variety of plans than the exchanges, which offer more standardized coverage.


More from Insurance.com:


598Comments
Feb 14, 2014 12:49PM
avatar

Obamacare, hurting those that need it the most.

 

No matter how self sufficient you wanted to be, now, because of the law, you are forced to take welfare in the form of a subsidy to pay for your overpriced healthcare.

 

Forced governmet reliance.  A liberal's dream.

Feb 14, 2014 1:39PM
avatar

No mention of the absurd deductables that make insurance, for all practicle purposes, worthless.  If I werent insured at work my family would have to pay $600/month and the deductable is just under $13,000.  That means in order to get any benefit from the insurance we must spend about $20,000.  Whats the point?

 

Prior to this the premium would have been $500 and deductable $6,000.

Feb 14, 2014 2:18PM
avatar
democrats are on the run, maybe next time they will read the bill before passing it. what a bunch of ignorant thugs..
Feb 14, 2014 2:34PM
avatar
If you like your Doctor you can keep your Doctor. If you like your Health Plan you can keep your Health Plan. Obamacare will save each family $2,500 a year. "ALL" lies by the Liar in Chief Comrade Obama. I for one can't wait for the midterm elections and the pending tsunami of Republicans that will be ousting the idiot libtards that foisted this off onto the American people...  
Feb 14, 2014 2:29PM
avatar

lol....Nevada is on the list.  Funny how Harry Reid exempted his staff and the people of Nevada get hit hard with obummercare costs.

Nevada.....Get rid of Harry Reid

Feb 14, 2014 2:16PM
avatar

:-o

 

Obummercare big joke on the American people

Feb 14, 2014 2:22PM
avatar

No different than before regarding Americans with no healthcare, the taxpayers are still on the hook. The rest of us get screwed with higher premiums and deductibles.

I hope this hurts(financially, mentally) as many individuals and families who voted for this pos in chief as possible. You deserve everything you get.

When this affected my family, it became personal. I wish nothing but the worst for all you hussein supporters.

You voted for this puke, you are as much to blame as hussein.

Feb 14, 2014 2:47PM
avatar

I cleaned out my desk recently and came across health insurance quotes from mid 2009.  $79/month with a $3500 deductible.  I'm currently paying $250/month with a $6500 deductible for the same coverage.  Thanks liberals!

Feb 14, 2014 2:24PM
avatar

The deductibles on the exchange plans are outrageous.  No way my daughter can come close to paying that much before seeing a nickel of benefits. So in other words that broken ankle will cost her about $12,000 up front to get covered.  A steal... I'm not getting a subsidy and will be paying full price in addition to more of my income going to subsidize other people to get insurance they can't afford to use. What a great system.

Feb 14, 2014 2:17PM
avatar
Obamacare is a misnomer cus it's not really "care"  and it's not "affordable".  Rather the "ACA" is the UDCA---Unaffordable (and I), Obama)  Don't Care Act.    All political smoke and mirrors to extend welfare beyond the already failing Medicaid and to take attention off the deplorable, failing efforts of an inept administration to reverse a failing economy.   All across America people have lost insurance they were happy with, while others have been unable to get the insurance promised them by Obama.  It's all one big $crew up by conniving politicians who a closed door, backroom deals got plenty of "campaign" cash from the companies and individuals making big money off new insurance sales and increased rates for existing policies.   Welcome to daffy duck leadership, folks.
Feb 14, 2014 2:34PM
avatar

Just wait, there is no argument to be made from the worthless American libs on here, GET READY FOR THE RACE CARD. Any minute, its coming.

Come on libs, tell us silly conservatives how racist we are for presenting FACTS and personal accounts.

One of these days, you worthless American libs will have to learn what taking responsibility is all about.

Ignorance is bliss.

Feb 14, 2014 2:22PM
avatar

We'll have to pass the bill before you can see what's in it, and of course, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  The Mayor of Obamaville promises that.

Feb 14, 2014 2:33PM
avatar
In order to insure more people, tell those who are insured that their plans are no longer any good and cancel the plans, force them to join an exchange and pay 2x as much, and then use their higher payments to insure a handful more people while lowering the quality of care for all.  Idiots.  Or democrats.  No difference.
Feb 14, 2014 2:32PM
avatar
Why is it that MSN has removed most of the comment sections for political issues and obummercare?
Feb 14, 2014 2:44PM
avatar

Mr. Soul made a great point, how STUPID do you have to be to support a bill that has to be passed first to find out what is in it.

 

I guess in lib world it makes sense to buy a car before getting to look at it, to drive it?

 

 

Feb 14, 2014 2:45PM
avatar

All part of that :fundamental change" Obama promised everyone. Problem is, no one was smart enough to consider what he meant by that. Obama outlined his plans. Bankrupt non-green energy. Implement a single payer system by effing up the current system so bad it no longer functions. The list goes on and on and Obama did it all right in the open.

 

I mean, really. Back in 2008, Obama promised to bankrupt coal. That meant that people who mined coal would be losing their jobs. Election day and the union coal workers turned out for Obama 70%. He basically told them they were going to lose their jobs if they voted for him and they voted for him anyway. Same with people who lost their insurance. Warnings of it coming and at least half those people still voted to get their insurance cancelled. How dumb are people in this country?

Feb 14, 2014 2:28PM
avatar

rip

 

Ya, its the Repubs fault for husseincare being a failure. Typical WORTHLESS American lib, blame everyone else!

 

 

Feb 14, 2014 2:38PM
avatar

educatedworker

 

The overall plan is for a single payer system. hussein wants Americans to blame the insurance companies for their losses.

 

Thank God, there are Americans out here who still think for themselves. WHO STILL THINK!

 

 

Feb 14, 2014 2:57PM
avatar

Thanks to the ACA, the cost for my company-sponsored health insurance plan went up 47% on the 3rd of February. The company's cost for keeping me in their plan also increased 47%. And you have to wonder....how does this promote economic growth? IT DOESN'T!!!


Thanks Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the other lying socialist / communist morons who voted for this crappy law.

Feb 14, 2014 2:25PM
avatar

pecan

I must be paying for your husseincare.

Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More