States With the Most Affordable Health Insurance

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By James McAluney

If you are an adult living in the United States, you know that health insurance coverage is a big deal. It is required if you want to avoid paying fines and it can also be extremely expensive if you are not covered by an employer. Aside from fines for not having health insurance, you never know when an illness or injury could occur, costing exponentially more money than health insurance would have cost in the long run. Different states have adopted different policies and some are more affordable than others. Each state must at least meet federal standards, but they have the option to go beyond standards and provide better options.

Hawaii is one of the top states to offer the most affordable health care insurance plans in the country despite the fact that it is one of the states with the highest cost of living. The other top states include California, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Utah. The rate of uninsured individuals in Hawaii is only 5.3%. The state’s Prepaid Healthcare Act of 1974 is very strict, even more strict than the new federal healthcare laws. It mandates that employers must offer coverage for employees who work at least 20 hours a week or more, as opposed to federal laws which mandate 30 hours per week. Interestingly, Hawaii was the first state forty years ago to require employers to provide health benefits.

Hawaii also offers relatively cheap insurance to residents who do not receive benefits from employers through www.healthcare.gov, the most affordable being the Hawaii Medical Service Association Silver HMO. This plan has a monthly premium of $260, a deductible of $2500, and flat copays for primary and emergency room visits.

Along with affordable insurance rates, Hawaii also offers one of the best health systems in the United States. People in Hawaii are some of the healthiest people in America. They live longer than their mainland counterparts and die less frequently from diseases such as breast cancer and other cancers, even though their rates of disease are comparable to other states, if not higher.

Would you consider moving for better health insurance? According to Bankrate’s Health Insurance Pulse survey, more than 1 in 4 Americans say that they would move to another state if it meant better or cheaper health insurance. This is especially true of young people and people with lower incomes. Due to the likely lack of health insurance in these two groups, they have a lot to gain from federal healthcare laws and especially from states like Hawaii that are setting even higher standards to cover their citizens.

Governor Neil Abercrombie states, “ Hawaii has been a pioneer in health care since 1974 when the state passed the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act, but we need to do more to curb the rising costs of healthcare and ensure quality care for every man, woman and child in Hawaii. We need a system in which patients are engaged, physicians are held accountable, and all residents have access to high-quality, affordable health care.” Hawaii certainly seems to be headed in the right direction.