Free health insurance quotes may come at no cost to the consumer. The same can't be said for the actual coverage, though, and no one knows this better than residents of New York, according to a recent survey.
The Empire State, on average, spends more for health insurance than any other in the U.S., based on a new poll conducted by consumer banking firm GoBankingRates. Second to New York was Vermont, followed by South Carolina, Alabama and New Jersey rounding out the top five.
In order to arrive at the findings, the Los Angeles-based online banking firm compared silver plans under the Affordable Care Act. These are offered at both the state and federal level, available through HealthCare dot gov. Fourteen states have established their own exchanges. The majority of the people who get coverage through the ACA go to the website maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The cost factors used to determine what policyholders spent for coverage included the monthly premium, deductible, emergency care co-payment as well as the co-pay for treatment from a primary care physician.
New Mexico spends least on health insurance
Meanwhile, several states have more affordable health insurance costs compared to others. The state with the lowest price for coverage is New Mexico, the survey revealed. The Land of Enchantment doesn't have its own state-based exchange, but operates through the federal marketplace. Its neighbor to the north in Utah is second in lowest health insurance expenses, followed by California, Texas and Pennsylvania.
With more Americans seeking health insurance estimates, the uninsured rate has fallen substantially over the past several years. Economists and health experts say the ACA has played a role in that, as the law requires everyone to buy health insurance, provided they have the financial ability.
In the fourth quarter last year, approximately 12 percent of Americans did not have health insurance, based on a survey done in January by Gallup. That's the lowest the uninsured rate has been in over seven years. Since the ACA went into effect, the uninsured rate has fallen more than 5 percentage points.
83 percent eligible for tax credits
The cost of coverage is a concern for a number of Americans for a variety of reasons. However, HHS has tried to make getting covered more affordable through subsidies. For instance, 83 percent of Americans who bought coverage this past enrollment period were eligible for a tax credit. At nearly $300 per month, that's 72 percent of the pre-tax credit premium.
Sylvia Burwell, HHS secretary, indicated that the ACA is making health insurance more affordable for families everywhere.
"People coming to the [online] marketplace for coverage are active, engaged and shopping to save money," Burwell said.
Each year, HHS has an open enrollment period for buying health coverage online. This gives consumers an opportunity to buy coverage through the marketplace, change plans or re-enroll. As of Jan. 31, when the sign-up period ended, almost 13 million people enrolled.
"Across the country, about 12.7 million Americans selected affordable, quality health plans for 2016 coverage, exceeding our goals," Burwell said. "That includes over 4 million new consumers in the … states who signed-up for coverage this year."