Healthcare policy has been a hot debate topic over the last several years, focused mainly on the legislative changes implemented through the Affordable Care Act.
With these changes, the government now has a greater influence on healthcare and coverage options for American families. The new rules have triggered ample debate on the increasing cost of healthcare and its impact on individuals’ financial stability. The total cost of healthcare expenditures in the United States was $3.4 trillion in 2017, with an anticipated increase of 5.6 percent each year through 2025, according to Health Affairs, a national nonprofit organization.
The cost of health insurance is a critical component of this data, with annual premiums reaching $18,764 for the average American family, up 3 percent from 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Many individuals and families with health insurance coverage have subsidies available either through an employer healthcare plan or through the federal government under the Affordable Care Act to help offset the cost. However, costs are continuing to rise each year. It is helpful to know the average health insurance cost whether subsidies are available or not, as well as the specific factors that influence these health insurance prices.
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Average Cost of Health Insurance
The actual out-of-pocket expense for health insurance premiums is lower than $18,764 total cost per year. On average, the total out-of-pocket cost per year is $5,714 based on 2017 data. The Milliman Medical Index estimates total average costs will exceed $28,000 for 2018 for a family of four.
But this is not the total out-of-pocket expense for most Americans, given some health insurance costs are covered by employer-sponsored benefits and government-funded subsidies. Currently, no data exists for the estimated average actual cost covered by individuals or families for 2018.
Health Insurance Premium Costs
Average Health Insurance Premiums for Individual Plans
Several factors influence the total cost of health insurance for individuals, including the state in which you live and your age. However, the average health insurance cost for individuals under the Affordable Care Act is about $393, based on the first two months of data collected in 2017 by eHealth. That’s a 99 percent increase from what it was in 2013 at $197.
Average Monthly/Annual Premiums for Individual Plans by Metal Level
Under the Affordable Care Act, a tiered system of health insurance coverage options provides a way to compare plans. Through this strategy, several levels were devised, giving individuals the ability to select which level of coverage best fits their healthcare needs and financial means. Based on those levels, the average cost of health insurance for 2018 is:
- Catastrophic coverage: average monthly cost of $167; annual premium of $1,999
- Bronze coverage: average monthly cost of $201; annual premium of $2,411
- Silver coverage: average monthly cost of $247; annual premium of $2,961
- Gold coverage: average monthly cost of $291; annual premium of $3,487
- Platinum coverage: average monthly cost of $363; annual premium of $4,360
These average health insurance cost statistics are based on 21-year-old individuals and applying for coverage through healthcare insurance exchanges without a government subsidy.
Average Monthly/Annual Premiums for Individual Plans by Age
Age also plays a role in determining the average cost of health insurance for individuals. Based on the most recent data available from eHealth, the average cost of health insurance based on age group is:
- $152 per month for individuals 18 and under
- $177 per month for individuals 18 to 24
- $239 per month for individuals 25 to 34
- $303 per month for individuals 35 to 44
- $400 per month for individuals 45 to 54
- $580 per month for individuals 55 to 64
These average healthcare cost statistics are drawn from eHealth’s Health Insurance Price Index Report for 2016, which is the most recent data.
Average Health Insurance Premiums for Family Plans
Individual and family plans differ in terms of average cost, but family healthcare plans are also based on the state, the age of the primary insured, and the number of family members under the plan. According to eHealth, the average health insurance cost for a family was $1,021 per month, based on the first two months of data compiled from the 2017 open enrollment period. That’s up from the $833 average monthly premium a year prior.
Historical Data on Health Insurance Cost
Over the last several years, the average cost of health insurance for both individuals and families has been rising. The most recent data highlights the average individual health insurance premium cost of $393 compared to the 2008 average health insurance cost of $159.
Similarly, family health insurance premiums have increased to $1,021 per month, compared to the average $369 monthly premium in 2008. Experts suggest that the average cost of healthcare will continue to increase for both individuals and families in the years to come, although the exact percentage increase is not yet known.