Why Are Obamacare Premiums So Different Across States?

Obamacare is a federal program, but what many Americans don't know is that costs will remain different from state to state. In fact, a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services shows some huge differences in premium costs depending on where you live.

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 these cost differences and why they're so big. Dan notes that in comparing costs in different states, minimum coverage in the highest-price state, Wyoming, costs three times as much in Minnesota, the lowest-price state. He points out that some states have more than a hundred different options for residents to consider, while those in other states have fewer than 10. Moreover, demographic differences between states also contribute to disparities in average premiums, and those of different ages and in different cities should also expect to see variability in costs.

Max and Dan then discuss how the future could play out for Obamacare. If UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) , Cigna (NYSE: CI  ) , and Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) reverse their hesitation to participate in Obamacare health-insurance exchanges, then their presence could add competition to the mix and reduce premiums in some high-cost areas. On the other hand, if Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA  ) , Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS  ) , and other health-care providers raise their prices in some areas, it could send rates there rising even higher.

Get all the answers
Do you still feel like you're in the dark about how Obamacare might affect you and your portfolio? The Motley Fool's special report, "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare," takes a 360-degree look at how the law may affect your taxes, health insurance, and investments. Click here to grab your free copy today.


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  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 1:07 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    Why is your State Government working against it's Citizens and forcing prices higher than anywhere else ? There is an answer !!!

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 1:09 PM, TheRsHateAmerica wrote:

    This is why you need National Healthcare, because states like Wyoming don't have enough people to make the pool if customers big enough to hold premiums down, but then its a Red State so who cares what they pay. Maybe the Koch Brothers will take care of them

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 1:13 PM, lm1b2 wrote:

    As a Federal Plan it should cost the same in every State,sounds as if the Consumers are being ripped off as usual,why aren't the Republicans,and Democrats raising Hell about that ?

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 1:33 PM, nomofunfun wrote:

    Very few things run by the Federal Government are run well. And it's not a political party thing either. The only real way ACA can work is for states to be given money on condition, have some $$$ incentive to make it work, and have the ability to opt in/out on many, many portions, and have a great deal of flexibility - not just Medicaid expansion.

    If voters in each state want more/less of this "better" kind of ACA, they can vote for it.

    The only reason Romneycare worked is that Mass. is relatively affluent. There was enough money to go around. Plus it was run locally at the state level. More accountability.

    I noticed people on the far right will trot out the Kenya, union, socialist rants while people on the far left love the Koch brothers, 1%, and soak-the-rich rants. Sorry, most of us are near the middle.

    You can send both Ted Cruz and Harry Reid on a motor boat to China.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 1:45 PM, ktbonner wrote:

    So seriously, what's to keep you from signing on in a different state with lower premiums?

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 2:09 PM, joecjet wrote:

    This is one reason why this Healthcare plan is biased. If it is truly universal healthcare, pricing should be the same regardless of location. We have private insurance that we pay for 100% out of pocket, but is negotiated for as a group plan through my pension fund. They told us in August to expect huge increases in premiums starting Jan., 1st due to Obamacare. They have been trying to prepare us through webinars and meetings. Once again, the people who work hard and pay their way in society have to pay for those who refuse to do the same, or think their must have electronic devices are more important than their healthcare. But they have no problems crying for free or drastically reduced healthcare if they don't have to pay what we do.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 2:10 PM, jonnyappleseeds wrote:

    you may thank your insurance companies for this, greed never sleeps

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 3:29 PM, tuttifruitti wrote:

    I remember when Clinton was in office and Hillary was figuring a way for the US citizens to get universal healthcare or something similar. People in DC were furious and others in the country were furious too. Now I would like to know why we HAVE to have Obamacare and why is it shoved down our throats?

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 3:47 PM, hobo21 wrote:

    my prescripton insurance through united health care came in and it has doubled since last year. i suppose it is tied to obama care and i am going to have to pay some welfare receipients medicine insurance since they chose to never work and ride the backs of citizens that worked for a living and tried not to be a slave to the govt.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 3:48 PM, hobo21 wrote:

    if nancy pelosi or harry reid endorses any thing it is one screwed up mess.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 8:04 PM, luckyagain wrote:

    The US should just hire the French government to run our medical system and it would be 50% cheaper than the crappy one that we now have. Also you would get better medical care and live longer. But it will never happen here because the US is Number One in cost and we have the best paid medical insurance CEOs in the world.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2013, at 5:29 AM, lilyvonshtupp wrote:

    Im thinking the average yearly income varies from state to state , and they are simply trying to squeeze every possible penny out of the workers in each one.

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