Insurance premiums vary widely across the country

The average monthly premium for health insurance in the U.S. in 2010 was $215 per person in the individual market, but the cost varied widely by state, according to an analysis by Kaiser Family Foundation.

The analysis looked at insurer filings to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Key findings:

  • Vermont and Massachusetts both had the highest average per member per month premiums, at over $400 per month.
  • Premiums in Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey were also high compared to the rest of the country.
  • Alabama ($136), California, ($157), Arkansas ($163), Idaho ($167), and Delaware ($169) had the lowest average monthly premiums in the country.

The authors state that deductibles or copayments that offset the savings in premiums were not accounted for in the study. Also, states that have instituted reforms in their insurance markets to make coverage more accessible, including Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey – may have higher average premiums because people with pre-existing health conditions are able to enroll.

(Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, http://www.kff.org, August 2011;  AHA News Now, http://www.ahanews.com, August 10, 2011)