If you’re a single male and looking for health coverage, you’re in luck. Especially if you’re young. That’s because young, single males have the lowest average premium costs of any other group. According to the American Care Act (ACA), health insurers aren’t supposed to charge women more than men for health coverage, but eHealth found in 2018, the average monthly premium (without subsidies) for men regardless of age was $43 lower than it was for women. Since age is one of the factors that health insurers are allowed to take into account when calculating premiums, young males typically pay less for health insurance than any other demographic.
How Much Will You Pay?
The cost of health insurance is broken into the following categories:
- Premium. Your monthly payment for keeping your health insurance active.
- Deductible. The amount you have to pay before your insurance company starts contributing to your medical care costs.
- Co-pays and co-insurance. The cost-sharing amount you must pay for each doctor visit or treatment. Not every plan has a co-pay or co-insurance requirement.
- Out-of-pocket maximum. This is the most you will have to pay out-of-pocket in a calendar year. But keep in mind, not all medical treatment is subject to the out-of-pocket maximum so it’s important to read your plan and know exactly what you’re responsible for.
Premiums for Single Males
The average premium for a single male in 2018 was $418 per month for plans purchased through the healthcare marketplace. If you had an employer-sponsored plan or were under the age of 26 and thus still eligible to be on your parent’s health plan, you likely paid [$118 per month](https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/single-coverage/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedDistributions=employee-contribution--employer-contribution--total-annual-premium&selectedRows=%7B%22wrapups%22:%7B%22united-states%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Employee%20Contribution%22,%22sort%22:%22desc%22%7D).
Health insurance companies determine premiums based on the following factors:
- Location. Since health insurance is regulated on a state level as a private business subject to competition, where you live is usually the biggest factor in what you pay. For instance:
- States can have regulations that make health insurance more or less expensive.
- If your state has a high population, there is a high likelihood that there are multiple health insurance carriers in your market. The greater the competition between health insurers, the lower your health insurance costs are likely to be.
- If your state is mostly rural or remote, like Alaska, everything is likely to cost more, including medical care. This is because it costs more to ship to, or make supplies in, your location. And if the medical care costs more in your state, then the health insurance is likely to cost more as well.
- If there is only one major medical care network in your area, then your health insurance is likely to cost more than it would if there were multiple networks. This is because the cost of medical care is often negotiable and if there’s only one medical provider in an area, the health insurance company doesn’t have a lot of leverage to negotiate. Again, if medical care costs more, so will the health insurance.
- Age. Insurers are allowed to charge older people more for health insurance than younger people.
- Smoking. Insurers are also allowed to charge smokers more than they charge non-smokers.
- The type of plan you choose. This is another big one. Health plans are divided into the following categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Bronze plans typically have the lowest monthly premiums but the highest deductibles whereas you’ll pay the most monthly for a Platinum plan, but your deductible will typically be lower than for other types of plans. Cost also varies between network types. For instance, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) are typically cheaper than Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs).
Your deductible is mostly determined by the type of plan you have (i.e. your premium). As stated above, the lower your premium, the higher your deductible is likely to be. However, since wellness visits and other preventative care are mostly covered at no cost to you—meaning your insurance will cover it regardless of whether or not you’ve paid a cent toward your deductible—the amount of your deductible will likely only come into play if you get sick or have a condition that needs to be managed.
Co-pays and Co-insurance
Not every plan requires these so make sure to read your plan options before making a selection.
Like your deductible, your out-of-pocket maximum is largely determined by the type of plan you have. Typically, the higher your premium, the lower your out-of-pocket maximum.
Since the cost of your health insurance can be determined by so many different factors, it’s best to shop around to get a sense of your options. If you’re looking for the average cost specific to your circumstances (i.e. your age, location, etc.), check out Kaiser’s Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator. Just note, the information provided is accurate for 2019 premiums for plans purchased in the marketplace and premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance could be different.
Healthcare Cost Series
Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.