Can You Afford Obamacare? Here’s the Cost in Every State

Sick man
Kamira / Shutterstock.com

Need to find your own health insurance coverage? If you don’t have the luxury of getting this benefit from your employer, then you know it’s a headache to pin down the right plan — one that meets your health needs, those of your family and — critically — your budget. (You should also know that open enrollment for 2019 starts on Nov. 1.)

Under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the federal government expanded access to health insurance options for people who don’t receive it through an employer.

Getting insurance through the federal marketplace can be confusing to navigate, and rates are generally rising — increasing 32 percent on average nationally from 2017 to 2018, according to a recent study by the nonprofit Urban Institute. But the picture varies wildly from state to state. In Iowa — home to the highest increase — premiums shot up 117 percent in that period, while in Alaska premiums declined by more than 22 percent.

The volatility is partly the result of Trump administration moves that killed key provisions of Obamacare, which came after an unsuccessful attempt by Republican legislators to kill the health care law altogether — and also by how individual states chose to respond. Lawmakers continue to do battle over Obamacare, so more change is inevitable.

In the meantime, this is what it looks like for consumers in each state and the District of Columbia. Here are what it costs, on average, for an individual to buy health insurance in every state and D.C. in 2018, and how it changed from 2017 — from least expensive to most expensive:

1. Rhode Island: $287/month*

Enfi / Shutterstock.com

2017: $243/month*

2018: $287/month*

Change from 2017 to 2018: +18.3 percent*

Even with an 18.3 percent increase in premium costs over 2017, Rhode Islanders were offered the lowest monthly premium on average for health insurance purchased through the Obamacare marketplace in 2018.

*Costs cited throughout refer to the average lowest-premium Silver plans for a 40-year-old nonsmoker. Gold and Bronze plan premiums may go up and down in price at different rates, as the Urban Institute report shows. The Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum categories are based on how you and your insurance plan split costs. Categories have nothing to do with quality of care.

2. North Dakota: $293/month

Little boy with cowboy hat on North Dakota Farm
Olga Enger / Shutterstock.com

2017: $325/month

2018: $293/month

Change: -9.8 percent

North Dakota is one of the few states where there has been a steady increase in residents enrolling in Obamacare policies each year since the law was rolled out in 2014, according to HealthInsurance.org. As more have enrolled, premiums dropped nearly 10 percent from 2017 to 2018.

3. Massachusetts: $306/month

Sailboats in Boston harbor.
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

2017: $241/month

2018: $306/month

Change: +26.8 percent

The Obamacare tax penalty designed to encourage people to get health insurance will go away in 2019, which means individuals — especially young, healthy individuals — may be less inclined to enroll in the federal program. But Massachusetts has had a health insurance requirement since 2006 and that law will remain in effect, “meaning that most state residents must have health insurance or face a state tax penalty,” says LegalConsumer.com. This state, a frontrunner in health care reform, saw an increase of nearly 27 percent in the average premium from 2017 to 2018.

4. District of Columbia: $317/month

Washington, D.C. traffic with Capitol Building in background
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

2017: $275/month

2018: $317/month

Change: +15.0 percent

5. Washington: $326/month

Bellevue, Washington
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

2017: $238/month

2018: $326/month

Change: +37.0 percent

Washington state saw a big jump in premiums for private health insurance sold through the state’s marketplace in 2017. The Seattle Times reported that another substantial increase was on the way for 2019.

6. Indiana: $332/month

Indianapolis
Semmick Photo / Shutterstock.com

2017: $261/month

2018: $332/month

Change: +26.9 percent

7. Arkansas: $341/month

Kayaking in Arkansas
shuttersv / Shutterstock.com

2017: $281/month

2018: $341/month

Change: +21.2 percent

8. Ohio: $347/month

Ohio fair
Kenneth Sponsler / Shutterstock.com

2017: $251/month

2018: $347/month

Change: +38.2 percent

9. Michigan: $349/month

Michigan lighthouse
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

2017: $260/month

2018: $349/month

Change: +34.0 percent

Michigan residents saw a dramatic increase in premiums on the health care exchange in 2018, but they can expect an average increase there of just 1.4 percent in 2019, according to a report by the Associated Press. The AP analysis of data on proposed or approved premiums for 2019 indicated that many state health insurance marketplaces are stabilizing:

For next year, “premiums are expected either to drop or increase by less than 10 percent in 41 states with about 9 million customers.

10. Minnesota: $365/month

Minneapolis bridge with bikers, runners.
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

2017: $429/month

2018: $365/month

Change: -15.1 percent

Minnesota saw a significant decrease in premiums for plans on the state’s health care exchange in 2018 after a new reinsurance program was created. For 2019, all of the private insurance companies on the exchange have proposed lower premiums, according to HealthInsurance.org.

11. California: $394/month

Los Angeles, California
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

2017: $317/month

2018: $394/month

Change: +24.1 percent

12. Texas: $394/month

Roper in the rodeo
Roberto Galan / Shutterstock.com

2017: $279/month

2018: $394/month

Change: +41.3 percent

13. New Jersey: $399/month

People pack the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

2017: $338/month

2018: $399/month

Change: +18.1 percent

14. Oregon: $410/month

Girl taking a picture from a car window.
Linda Moon / Shutterstock.com

2017: $311/month

2018: $410/month

Change: +31.9 percent

15. Colorado: $413/month

Skiing in Colorado
Samot / Shutterstock.com

2017: $317/month

2018: $413/month

Change: +30.2 percent

After witnessing a spike in health insurance premiums in 2018, Coloradans purchasing coverage on the state’s exchange are in for a more modest increase in 2019 of less than 6 percent, The Denver Post reported.

16. New Mexico: $414/month

Hot air balloons in New Mexico
Tim Pleasant / Shutterstock.com

2017: $239/month

2018: $414/month

Change: +73.4 percent

New Mexico’s rates jumped a whopping 73 percent in 2018, although they still remained below the national average of $444 per month. Residents of the Land of Enchantment can breathe easier this time around. Rates are expected to decline in the state in 2019.

17. Kentucky: $420/month

Woman petting horse
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

2017: $253/month

2018: $420/month

Change: +66.2 percent

18. Maryland: $436/month

Runners in Maryland
Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock.com

2017: $324/month

2018: $436/month

Change: +34.7 percent

19. Hawaii: $437/month

Older woman with cup of coffee in tropical setting.
CREATISTA / Shutterstock.com

2017: $325/month

2018: $437/month

Change: +34.4 percent

20. Nevada: $445/month

Two women hiking in Nevada.
Brocreative / Shutterstock.com

2017: $306/month

2018: $445/month

Change: +45.6 percent

Premiums on Nevada’s health insurance exchange almost matched the national average ($444) in 2018.

21. Pennsylvania: $453/month

Market Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

2017: $347/month

2018: $453/month

Change: +30.6 percent

22. Louisiana: $455/month

Louisiana mucisians
GTS Productions / Shutterstock.com

2017: $403/month

2018: $455/month

Change: +12.9 percent

23. New Hampshire: $457/month

Hikers in New Hampshire
edella / Shutterstock.com

2017: $266/month

2018: $457/month

Change: +71.9 percent

24. Florida: $458/month

Family on Florida beach
NadyaEugene / Shutterstock.com

2017: $323/month

2018: $458/month

Change: +41.8 percent

25. South Dakota: $467/month

Native American vendors in South Dakota
Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com

2017: $430/month

2018: $467/month

Change: +8.6 percent

26. Illinois: $474/month

Ice skating in Chicago, Illinois
Miune / Shutterstock.com

2017: $350/month

2018: $474/month

Change: +35.3 percent

27. Vermont: $474/month

Vermont couple walking in park in Autumn
Sergii Kovalov / Shutterstock.com

2017: $470/month

2018: $474/month

Change: +0.8 percent

28. Idaho: $475/month

Idaho fly fishing
Kuznetcov_Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

2017: $344/month

2018: $475/month

Change: +37.9 percent

29. Mississippi: $478/month

Shrimp boats in Biloxi, Mississippi
CrackerClips Stock Media / Shutterstock.com

2017: $327/month

2018: $478/month

Change: +46.5 percent

30. Kansas: $481/month

Couple and dog in a field in Kansas
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

2017: $362/month

2018: $481/month

Change: +32.8 percent

31. Georgia: $482/month

African American men playing chess in Atlanta, Georgia
BluIz60 / Shutterstock.com

2017: $312/month

2018: $482/month

Change: +54.7 percent

32. New York: $484/month

Woman flagging a taxi in New York.
oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.com

2017: $439/month

2018: $484/month

Change: +10.3 percent

33. Arizona: $487/month

aaronj9 / Shutterstock.com

2017: $497/month

2018: $487/month

Change: -2.0 percent

34. Missouri: $487/month

Missouri
LanaG / Shutterstock.com

2017: $365/month

2018: $487/month

Change: +33.5 percent

35. Montana: $494/month

Montana biking
Wes Lund / Shutterstock.com

2017: $418/month

2018: $494/month

Change: +18.2 percent

36. Wisconsin: $502/month

Wisconsin man showing off fish
Steve Oehlenschlager / Shutterstock.com

2017: $350/month

2018: $502/month

Change: +43.5 percent

37. Virginia: $506/month

Pedestrians in Alexandria, Virginia
Albert Pego / Shutterstock.com

2017: $309/month

2018: $506/month

Change: +64.0 percent

38. West Virginia: $514/month

Man looking at mountains, West Virginia
Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

2017: $440/month

2018: $514/month

Change: +16.9 percent

39. Alabama: $515/month

African American grandfather and kids on ride at the fair, Alabama
JNix / Shutterstock.com

2017: $435/month

2018: $515/month

Change: +18.5 percent

40. Oklahoma: $520/month

Tulsa, Oklahoma "Golden Driller" statue
Phil Anthony / Shutterstock.com

2017: $495/month

2018: $520/month

Change: +5.1 percent

41. South Carolina: $524/month

Charleston, South Carolina
Bf11photo / Shutterstock.com

2017: $389/month

2018: $524/month

Change: +34.4 percent

42. Utah: $528/month

Boy reaching for an icicle, on a cabin porch in Utah mountains
Johnny Adolphson / Shutterstock.com

2017: $308/month

2018: $528/month

Change: +71.3 percent

43. Connecticut: $539/month

Woman on bicycle, New Haven, Connecticut
Micha Weber / Shutterstock.com

2017: $433/month

2018: $539/month

Change: +24.7 percent

44. Maine: $551/month

Maine sorting lobster
WoodysPhotos / Shutterstock.com

2017: $371/month

2018: $551/month

Change: +48.6 percent

45. Delaware: $573/month

Delaware
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

2017: $414/month

2018: $573/month

Change: +38.3 percent

46. Tennessee: $597/month

Cowboy boots, dancing
NeydtStock / Shutterstock.com

2017: $433/month

2018: $597/month

Change: +37.9 percent

47. North Carolina: $601/month

Kevin M. McCarthy / Shutterstock.com

2017: $517/month

2018: $601/month

Change: +16.3 percent

48. Nebraska: $689/month

Harvest in Nebraska
Weldon Schloneger / Shutterstock.com

2017: $464/month

2018: $689/month

Change: +48.6 percent

49. Iowa: $695/month

Boy in car on country road
Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

2017: $320/month

2018: $695/month

Change: +117.5 percent

Iowa saw the single sharpest increase in exchange-based insurance rates in 2018. It had to be a shock to see the cost of health insurance more than double to one of the highest rates in the country.

50. Alaska: $698/month

Float plane in Alaska
cdrin / Shutterstock.com

2017: $901/month

2018: $698/month

Change: -22.5 percent

Alaskans got some relief in 2018, coming down from a high of $901 per month in 2017. But even after a 22.5 percent drop, the state still has the second-most-expensive rates in the country.

51. Wyoming: $860/month

Snowmobilers pass a bison in Wyoming
Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock.com

2017: $494/month

2018: $860/month

Change: +74.0 percent

Wyoming’s average premiums for health insurance sold on the exchange topped the charts in 2018. Perhaps it’s the lack of competition in that state. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is the only insurer offering plans for that state’s residents through the federal exchange, reports HealthInsurance.org.

How does your state’s average insurance cost stack up against others? How does your own insurance premium stack up? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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