Health Care Why Do Health Insurance Premiums Vary So Much? Read the Article Open Share Drawer Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Written by Magaly Olivero Published Mar 29, 2015 - [Updated Mar 30, 2015] 2 min read People shopping for health insurance to comply with the Affordable Care Act may be surprised to discover that the cost of plans can vary significantly – even with their own state. Most Americans are now required to carry health insurance to avoid paying a tax penalty. Here’s a look at some of the factors that go into determining premium prices. Age Older folks can be charged up to three times more for premiums than younger people, who are generally viewed as being healthier and less likely to need ongoing medical care. Geographic location Premium prices vary from state to state and even within counties in the same state. In some cases, the lack of competition among insurance companies can drive up prices. State regulations and the cost of living in different areas of the country also come into play. Tobacco use Although insurers can’t charge you more for having a pre-existing medical condition, they can charge tobacco users up to 50% more than nonsmokers for the same policy. Studies show smoking leads to increased health-care costs. Type of plan The type of plan you choose impacts costs. Plans sold in the federal (HealthCare.gov) and state Marketplaces are divided into five categories – platinum, gold, silver, bronze and catastrophic. Bronze plans have lower premiums, but fewer benefits and higher out-of-pocket expenses. Platinum plans come with higher premiums, but more robust benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs. For instance, if you use health care for a chronic condition, you might consider a more precious metal plan with lower out-of-pocket costs. All plans under the Affordable Care Act must meet the minimum essential requirements. Individual vs. family enrollment: Insurers can charge more for family coverage than an individual plan. Compare plans carefully to find the value and price that suits you best. Like all tax laws, TurboTax has you covered. If you have more questions about the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts you, you can get your questions answered at TurboTax Health. Previous Post What Health Care Forms Should I Have When Filing My… Next Post I Was Not Insured Under the Affordable Care Act: What… Written by Magaly Olivero Magaly Olivero is an award-winning writer and has written for many national and regional media outlets, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, tax and education industries. Her publishing credits include U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, The New York Times, Working Woman, Better Homes and Gardens and the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Magaly is a recipient of a National Journalism Fellowship from the University of California Annenberg School of Communication and a Health Coverage Fellowship from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. More from Magaly Olivero Leave a Reply Cancel reply Browse Related Articles Health Care When Can You Claim a Tax Deduction for Health Insurance… Health Care Health Insurance Marketplace: What You Need to Know Health Care Health Care, Taxes, and You: If I can’t afford healt… Health Care What Does My New Health Insurance Mean for My Taxes? Health Care President Obama Announces Health Care Rebates for 8.5 M… Health Care When Can You Claim a Tax Deduction for Health Insurance… Health Care Demystifying the Affordable Care Act Health Care How Income and Family Size Changes Impact Your Health I… Tax Tips Medical Expense Deductions – What’s Tax Ded… Tax Deductions and Credits Are Medical Expenses Tax Deductible?