Mapping Premium Variation in the Individual Market

This analysis examines how premiums for individual health insurance differ around the nation, finding that premiums can vary substantially from state to state. The average per-person premium in 2010 ranged in cost from approximately $136 per month in Alabama to more than $400 per month in Vermont and Massachusetts. The average across all states was $215 per member per month.

Given the fragmentation of the market and the lack of public data available about individual insurance premiums across the nation, the analysis provides an important baseline that consumers and policymakers can use to gauge the state of insurance affordability prior to the full implementation of health reform. Some states such as Vermont and Massachusetts already instituted insurance market reforms that enable people with pre-existing conditions to purchase coverage, resulting in higher average premiums. Other states permit insurers to exclude people with expensive illnesses, so average premiums reflect a healthier-than-average population. Starting in 2014, the national health reform law will prohibit insurers in all states from charging more to people with pre-existing conditions.

Issue Brief (.pdf)

Chart: Average Per Person Monthly Premiums in the Individual Market, 2010

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