July 14, 2005
About a quarter of the nation?s 45 million uninsured are between 25 and 34 and are single. In response to this drastic number, eHealthInsurance examined the cost of high-deductible (but less than $1,000) plans available on the individual market in the country's largest 50 cities.
According to researchers:
- A 30-year-old single, nonsmoker can buy insurance for $54 per month in Long Beach, Calif., $56 in Sacramento, Calif. and $58.77 in Tucson, Ariz.; that's less than two dollars per day.
- In Dallas, singles pay $146.42, nearly three times more than Long Beach; other Texas cities are slightly more affordable -- $146.28 in Houston, $129.53 in Fort Worth, $125.46 in San Antonio, $124.35 in Austin and $120.28 in El Paso.
- On the other hand, individual plans in New York City and Boston cost $334.09 and $267.57, respectively; that's six times more than Long Beach.
- In 33 of the 50 cities, however, individual policies can be found for under $100 per month.
But why do prices for these plans vary significantly by geographical region? The answer: regulation. Health care regulation and insurance mandates vary by state; when states require that plans must include certain services -- dental care, eye care and screenings -- prices rise making insurance less affordable, says the Heritage Foundation.
Besides tracking costs, the researchers also found ways to reduce the number of the uninsured:
- States should back away from mandates and regulations that increase the cost of insurance; these policies put insurance out of the reach of many low-income workers and families.
- The use of tax credits could make health insurance more affordable for who are uninsured; Bush has proposed tax credits for individuals equaling $1,000 and $3,000 for families.
Source: "Health Insurance at Less Than $2 Per Day," Heritage Foundation Policy Blog, June 28, 2005; based upon: "The Most Affordable Cities for Individuals to Buy Health Insurance," eHealthInsurance, June 28, 2005; and Bob Moos, "Health costs high for Dallas singles," Dallas Morning News, June 29, 2005.
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