If you’re like many Americans, figuring out what you should expect to pay for health care is akin to herding cats. It might be helpful to look at what a health insurance policy would cost you without an Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, subsidy.
There are different ways to look at health care costs, so perspectives differ. According to eHealth’s Health Insurance Price Index on average, individual ACA health insurance premium costs without subsidies have increased 99% since 2013 while family premiums have increased 140%. That said, a 2016 analysis shows that the average premiums in the individual market dropped significantly in 2014 when the ACA took affect. Because Obamacare policies are required to provide more coverage, people began to get more coverage for less cost.
As for how much health insurance costs, eHealth data indicates that in 2017 the average premium costs without figuring in subsidies are as follows:
- Individual health insurance premium is $393 a month;
- Family health insurance premium is $1,021.
If you pay higher premiums with a lower deductible, you may pay higher monthly out-of-pocket costs. If instead you don’t anticipate the need for a lot of medical needs and choose to pay a lower monthly premium but with a higher deductible, your monthly costs will be lower.
eHealth data indicates that the 2017 average deductibles are:
- $4,328 for individuals
- $8,352 for families
Premium and deductible costs for ACA enrollees vary according to metal level, or category.
Platinum – If you think you will use a lot of health services, this might be the way to go.
Gold – This is a good level to consider if you use health services or take medications regularly.
Silver – The next tier has you paying more than with Gold, and the plan paying less, about 70% of your health expenses. If you qualify for subsidies, however, you may pay a lower deductible and maximum out-of-pocket.
Bronze – If you’re healthy and won’t use a lot of health services, consider the Bronze level.
If the ACA remains in place for 2018, consider your options during open enrollment in November and December. HealthCare.gov, or your state’s exchange if it has one, can help you determine what plan level is best for your circumstances. Basically, it all comes down to how healthy you are and what you can budget for.