Many Americans are worried about how much health insurance will cost under Obamacare, and with health-care exchange open enrollment beginning on Tuesday, people need to know what they'll have to pay. A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services shed some light on costs under the Affordable Care Act, including what residents in each state can expect to pay.
In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning and author of the special free report "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare," talks with Motley Fool health-care bureau chief Max Macaluso about the states in which Obamacare policies will cost the most. Dan and Max discuss the findings, noting that Wyoming and Alaska will be the highest-cost states, with Mississippi, Connecticut, and Vermont rounding out the top five. Dan points out that the report looked at the least-comprehensive bronze-level plans and took weighted averages of the costs that residents of each state would bear. For more-comprehensive silver-level coverage, residents in these high-cost states can expect to pay 15% to 25% more.
Max and Dan then discuss why these states have the highest prices. Dan notes that high prices come from relatively little competition, as Wyoming has only 16 different plan options, compared with more than 100 in some other states. Moreover, the unwillingness of insurers such as UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) to join the more optimistic WellPoint (NYSE:ANTM) in offering Obamacare-exchange policy options has made the problem worse in some areas. Yet for hospital-services providers Community Health (NYSE:CYH), Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC), and HCA Holdings (NYSE:HCA), the higher costs they're able to charge in lesser-served markets could help them benefit from Obamacare despite high premium costs.
Neither Fool contributor Dan Caplinger nor Max Macaluso, Ph.D. has any position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint and owns shares of WellPoint. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.