Thursday, December 04, 2008

Affordable Health Plans Available From $37/Mo.

According to the Census Bureau, there are 47 million Americans without health insurance (link). NPR had a segment today about getting insurance quotes through a website called eHealthInsurance.com.

For a 36-year old male living in my area, there were 119 quotes through eHealthInsurance with monthly premiums ranging from a low of $37 per month ($10,000 deductible, co-insurance of 20%) to a high of $232 per month ($0 deductible, 0% coinsurance), and there were 62 different plans with premiums of $100 per month of less. For a 36-year old female, the premiums are slightly higher, ranging from $47 to $307 per month.

Bottom Line: At a monthly cost comparable to a typical monthly cable TV plan, and maybe even about the same cost as a monthly cell phone plan, isn't it true that an individual can easily purchase relatively affordable health insurance in the private market? I wonder how many of the 47 million have cable TV and cell phones, and voluntarily chose not to buy health insurance, even though they obviously can afford it?

48 Comments:

At 12/04/2008 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that a very large percentage of the uninsured have cable TV and cell phones (if they live in an area with service).

 
At 12/04/2008 10:14 AM, Blogger Colin said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT3KiB2otV0

 
At 12/04/2008 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you can get a cheap plan that most people can afford. The question is how can you afford the 10K deductible if you get sick?

 
At 12/04/2008 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have an emergency fund in place like you should?

 
At 12/04/2008 10:55 AM, Blogger Marko said...

How much is a quote for a family of 5 with the head of house in his 50s?

That being said, I doubt those are the ones uninsured.

Slightly off point, but didn't wages go way up of Bush presidency if you include health benefits? That little point has been missing in the recent discussions on the issue.

 
At 12/04/2008 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

Great blog. On this issue, try your search in NJ, zip code 07446. A decent plan is about $1800/month for a family with one child. Why?

Because state government made a bunch of rules forcing the insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, which is something the fed government wants to make happen across the country. NJ and NY have already done this, and look at the results - nobody can afford insurance!

This really hurts folks who want to start new businesses because - who can afford a second mortgage payment?

 
At 12/04/2008 11:24 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Marko,

Compensation went up, but did utility. I was a healthy 45-year-old when Bush took office, and I'm a healthy 53-year-old today. What did I gain?

 
At 12/04/2008 11:30 AM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

Try the same analysis for a married couple in their late 50's to 60's when jobs are terminated and the workforce considers you a liability to their health plan.

That's the baby boomer profile today.

eHealthInsurance didn't help us one bit as almost every suggested provider "declined coverage" even though we have no unusual "pre-existing" conditions (for our age).
"...For a 36-year old male living in my area"

Try the same analysis for us baby boomers just turning 60!

Kaiser Permanente was the only carrier we were able to get with a family deductible of $5400. The rest "declined coverage" claiming "pre-existing conditions" common to most aging boomers.

We just received our yearly of a premium increase notice of 24% (to $568/mo) for reduced coverage (no prescriptions) starting Jan/2009.

 
At 12/04/2008 11:54 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

We had financial experts from throughout the industry available for our last GM/UAW special attrition plan (buyouts). Most of them suggested healthy childless couples, w/o pre-existing conditions, in their mid to late 50s, expect to budget $1000 - $1200 per month for health insurance, co pays, prescriptions, and other out-of-pocket expenses. They suggested adding 6% - 8% yearly to those amounts to cover health-care cost increases. Before you buy that $37 policy think about this AARP statement: About 2/3 of bankruptcies in the 50-year-and-older age groups are related to health-care costs, and the majority of the groups do have some form of health insurance.

 
At 12/04/2008 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthcare is a significant and basic living expense - like food, clothing and shelter.
But nobody thinks they should have to pay for it.

 
At 12/04/2008 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is just the quote.

Then you have to be accepted for insurance. with my history of Arthritis and hypothyroidism I have found that I cannot get insurance at any price.

Basically, because my feet hurt, I cannot get my heart insured!

RGH

 
At 12/04/2008 4:19 PM, Blogger RebelRenegade said...

Anon 11:22 AM

I just did a rate quote for my household (with an imaginary 3-year old child) using the zip code you provided.

Most of the ehealth picks were in the $800 to $1100 range.

Just did a search using the same parameters using my real Alabama zip code. Mostly in the $200-$300 range.

One difference I noticed is that I can't choose a policy with a non-zero deductible for NJ. In AL I can go as low as $1.5K up to $10K which drops the price down to $74/month.

Astounding differences. I wonder how much of that has to do with things unique to NJ like population density, crime rate, etc. Once you control for things like that, you can start to see how much the state regulation is really affecting things. As an ex-resident of NJ, I know just how insane insurance and taxes are there.

Is there some kind of state law making non-zero deductibles illegal?

 
At 12/04/2008 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RebelRenegade - I was told by insurance companies that NJ/NY has special rules laws that dictate insurance carriers must accept everybody regardless, that is why the premiums are so high. (when looking at NJ policies, make sure you look at HMO or PPO plans)

The same exact plan I mentioned for $1800/month is $600/month in PA, about 100 miles away. I understand there are cost differences, but this is incredible. These numbers tell me that as a young person, I am paying more than 2x the "normal" rate to subsidize somebody else.

This is going to be a rather huge issue with all the wall st layoffs when their cobra ins runs out, and they are faced with $1500/month health insurance premiums.

On another note, if you do the same search as a "small business" in NJ, the cost drops to $650/month.

Nothing free market about any of this craziness:)

 
At 12/04/2008 4:57 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

You gotta be kidding, right?

The cheapest plan I could find is $79 per month with a (!!!) $1K annual deductible and 40 percent co-pay.

For the low, low price of $169/mo I can get a $7,500 deductible with a 30% co-pay. For $399/mo I can get a $1K annual deductible with a 30% co-pay, for $513 I can reduce the co-pay to 20 percent.

Do you seriously believe someone earning at or near minimum wage could afford ANY of these plans, esp is they have an expensive chronic condition?

 
At 12/04/2008 5:00 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous said:

I am sure that a very large percentage of the uninsured have cable TV and cell phones (if they live in an area with service).


I have a $5/mo prepaid cell phone (I ditched my unaffordable landline) and my excessive satellite TV is included in my rent (thus I have zero marginal cost and cannot reduce my expenses by getting rid of it).

So what exactly is your point?

 
At 12/04/2008 5:03 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous said:

Have an emergency fund in place like you should?


Okay, let's go with that. My monthly income is $908. I pay $650 to rent a room in a house with nine people, $110 in medical expenses, and $135 for a student loan garnishment.

Exectly HOW do you propose I have an emergency fund in place like I should?

 
At 12/04/2008 5:05 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous (what a prolific author!) said:

Because state government made a bunch of rules forcing the insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, which is something the fed government wants to make happen across the country. NJ and NY have already done this, and look at the results - nobody can afford insurance!


Yes, state insurance mandates are a HUGE part of the problem.

 
At 12/04/2008 5:07 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous said:

Compensation went up, but did utility. I was a healthy 45-year-old when Bush took office, and I'm a healthy 53-year-old today. What did I gain?


Another year older and deeper in debt?

 
At 12/04/2008 5:09 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

poor boomer said:


The cheapest plan I could find is $79 per month with a (!!!) $1K annual deductible and 40 percent co-pay.


OOPS! Typo alert! That should be a $10K deductible - a sum almost equal to my annual income. As if I could afford it.

 
At 12/04/2008 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Boomer - you should be on medicaid if you are making 10K per year. Not sure what the income level cutoffs are..

 
At 12/04/2008 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes eHealthInsurance.com helped us; however, the guy from NJ made a good point. We are in NY, and a family of 4 is ~$400 for Hospital coverage only.

 
At 12/04/2008 11:11 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous said:

Poor Boomer - you should be on medicaid if you are making 10K per year. Not sure what the income level cutoffs are..


Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint - it is difficult for childless adults to qualify for Medicaid. Last I looked, in my state, childless adults do not qualify once their monthly income reaches approx $600.

 
At 12/05/2008 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor boomer - There are two anonymous posts going here so it is getting a bit confusing.

In an ideal world, if you were making 10K per year (under poverty line, I assume) you should be covered by medicaid - or get a refundable tax credit for health insurance.

Food stamps work well because the government does not need to run grocery stores themselves. I dont see why health insurance should be any different.

Also, at 10K per year dont you get a decent amount from the EITC, like 200/month? Again, I dont know the specifics.

I care as much about the poor as anybody else, but I always want to make sure money is spent as efficiently as possible because you are taking that money from a productive person via taxes.

 
At 12/05/2008 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally depends on where you live. Many states have outlawed high deductible plans by placing endless mandates on what must be covered, from fertility treatments to accupuncture. A quick fix would be to allow a national (or international) market for health policies. Would reduce prices, increase coverage, increase freedom, and cost the taxpayers nothing.

 
At 12/05/2008 6:40 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous 3:10 said:

Also, at 10K per year dont you get a decent amount from the EITC, like 200/month? Again, I dont know the specifics.


Actually, childless adults get very little help from EITC - someone working full-time at minimum wage used to get around $50. Perversely, a childless adult maximizes his EITC by working only half-time - earning above approx $6,999 reduce his EITC until it completely disappears at (currently) $12,589. Currently, after the most recent miniomum wage increase, childless adults working full-time at minimum wage earn too much to qualify.

 
At 12/05/2008 11:52 PM, Blogger save_the_rustbelt said...

I have dealt with the billing on some of those super duper bargain health insurance plans.

The do a fine job of collecting premiums. Paying claims is another matter.

Some of them disappear frequently and then reappear with a new name.

Who would be so gullible as to believe this e-nonsense so thoroughly?

 
At 12/08/2008 10:11 PM, Anonymous Mika said...

As others have pointed out, the original post is misleading - I think intentionally. If its author had been an honest broker in pursuit of actual truth, he would have taken the time to scrutinize and report the details, e.g. the actual coverage, the co-pays, and deductibles. The truth is that genuine health care is now priced out of the reach of our low and middle classes. That is unconscionable and it renders us closer to the third world than to the rest of the whole western civilized world in this regard.

 
At 12/20/2008 8:30 AM, Anonymous Acai said...

Have an emergency fund in place like you should?

 
At 1/14/2009 9:09 PM, Blogger vasjpan2 said...

My alma mater alum asn has a deal for $25-100k deductible health plan. HSAs sell like 2k. I figur eI need $5-10k. I can't seem to find it in NYC/NYS. Anyone know why?

 
At 1/31/2009 9:36 AM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

I wonder what actual percent of Americans dont have health insurance. I bet its pretty high.

 
At 2/26/2009 4:25 PM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

I think this would be great. I am on of the people that don't have Health insurance and for only 37$a month that's something I would be able to afford

 
At 3/12/2009 6:54 PM, Anonymous Colon Cleanse said...

This has become just that much more relevant in these dire economic times.

It really is great to see that there is at least partial coverage out there that is affordable!

 
At 3/21/2009 4:35 AM, Blogger David Runnels said...

I think this would be great. I am on of the people that don't have Health insurance and for only 37$a month that's something I would be able to afford

 
At 4/04/2009 11:29 PM, Anonymous resveratrol said...

My alma mater alum asn has a deal for $25-100k deductible health plan. HSAs sell like 2k. I figur eI need $5-10k. I can't seem to find it in NYC/NYS. Anyone know why?

 
At 4/08/2009 11:22 AM, Anonymous alex said...

Its really Affordable Health Plans Available From $37/Mo.

 
At 4/13/2009 4:53 AM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

Have an emergency fund in place like you should?

 
At 4/19/2009 3:03 PM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

I think 37 dollars per month for some is kind of worth it.

Thats about 5 meals out of the month, for some kin of health insurance. It's better to have little than none, right?

 
At 4/22/2009 6:39 AM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

Have an emergency fund in place like you should?

 
At 4/23/2009 4:23 AM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

I don't know why people don't think so that Health Insurance is a most important part of our life.

 
At 5/20/2009 4:45 AM, Anonymous Acai said...

I am sure that a very large percentage of the uninsured have cable TV and cell phones

 
At 6/15/2009 4:36 AM, Anonymous resveratrol supplement said...

I was a healthy 34-year-old when Bush took office, and I'm a healthy 45-year-old today. What did I gain?

 
At 6/19/2009 2:20 AM, Blogger Reenu said...

State government made a bunch of rules forcing the insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, which is something the fed government wants to make happen across the country.Try the same analysis for a married couple in their late 60's to70's when jobs are terminated and the workforce considers you a liability to their health plans.

 
At 8/11/2009 2:02 PM, Anonymous Acai Berry said...

Lets hope these health plans make it through! I know we need some reform right now.

 
At 8/23/2009 1:25 AM, Anonymous resveratrol said...

Many states have outlawed high deductible plans by placing endless mandates on what must be covered, from fertility treatments to accupuncture.

 
At 8/31/2009 5:58 AM, Anonymous Acai said...

you can get a cheap plan that most people can afford. The question is how can you afford the 10K deductible if you get sick? This is the Matter.

 
At 8/31/2009 6:03 AM, Anonymous Teeth Whitening said...

I don't know why people don't think so that Health Insurance is a most important part of our life.

 
At 9/03/2009 4:54 AM, Anonymous Height Challenged said...

State government made a bunch of rules forcing the insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, which is something the fed government wants to make happen across the country.

 
At 1/26/2011 5:00 AM, Blogger Fat Chick said...

ry the same analysis for a married couple in their late 50's to 60's when jobs are terminated and the workforce considers you a liability to their health plan.

That's the baby boomer profile today.

eHealthInsurance didn't help us one bit as almost every suggested provider "declined coverage" even though we have no unusual "pre-existing" conditions (for our age).
"...For a 36-year old male living in my area"
I agree with the great thoughts. Thanks for making us more information phobias about health insurance

 

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