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Health insurance provides financial assistance for a wide array of health and medical services, and in certain situations, for prescription drugs.

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How healthy are people in Alabama?

A critical factor insurance companies look at when determining premiums is location-based health rating.

The 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance gave AL the 47th ranking out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here are the key takeaways from this study:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 111 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 21.4 out of 100,000 women

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 20%

  • Adult obesity: 35%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 35%

The scorecard also revealed the following statistics, all of which impact premiums:

  • 18% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 4% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 17% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 16% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

Your options and how much you can expect to pay

Most insurance companies offer the four different types of health insurance, categorized into metal tiers. Here’s the portion that you can expect each type of insurance to cover:

Bronze – 60%

Silver – 70%

Gold – 80%

Platinum – 90%

Bronze
Silver
Gold
Platinum

The United States Department of Health & Human Services also provided the following premium averages for 2017 in Alabama:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $552

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $78

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $384

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,392

Are you exempted?

Exemptions to the state-mandated health insurance apply to these individuals:

  • The available lowest-priced coverage goes beyond 8.13% of the consumer’s household income

  • Having an income below the level wherein filing is necessary

  • Experiencing financial hardships

  • Living in a state that didn’t implement Medicaid expansion

Remember though, that even when you find yourself exempted, you should still consider getting this type of insurance, as going without it can set you up for even higher expenditures.

Coverage, poverty and income: The link

In 2015, the country’s real median household income went up by 5.2%.  A decrease in the official poverty rate followed, and so did the number of people without health insurance coverage. However, there are still many areas in the nation with high uninsured rates.

The last time median household increased in the United States was in 2007. Fortunately, the year 2015 saw another increase from the previous year’s $53,718 to $56,516. Because of this, more than 19.3 million individuals had enough to acquire insurance.

Although it is true that health insurance is by no means cheap, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find anything you can afford. You have plenty of other options aside from the Affordable Care Act. Plenty of insurance companies in Alabama offer affordable rates and pocket-friendly premiums, so make sure you take the time to shop around and compare.

References:

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/2/alabama/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/212721/2017MarketplaceLandscapeBrief.pdf

https://www.healthcare.gov/health-coverage-exemptions/forms-how-to-apply/