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The state will face significant rate increases this year. The good news is, the approved rates aren’t as high as what providers initially filed for. Note though that how much you’ll pay for still depends on several other factors, such as your exact location.

Where you live impacts your health insurance expenditures because insurers take into account a specific area’s percentage of insured individuals. In most cases, the higher this is, the better the premiums, as what this U.S. Department of Health & Human Services study also suggest.  Since the state, with an estimated population of 2,978,204 (2015, latest data1), had an 8.0% decrease in its uninsured rating, the initial rate increases filed didn’t take place.

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State-based health ranking: A major premiums determiner

It goes without saying that how healthy people are in Arkansas strongly influences premiums.

In the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, the state ranked 49th place. Here are some of the key findings that contributed to its scores:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 119 out of 100,000 people

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

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 24%

  • Adult obesity: 38%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 34%

The scorecard also provided the following statistical comparisons:

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

  • 5% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 18% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 21% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

Metal tiers and how much you will pay for

There are four different levels of coverage available. Choosing the Platinum plan means you’ll have the lowest out-of-pocket expenses. The portion you’ll pay for can amount to:

Bronze – 60%

Silver – 70%

Gold – 80%

Platinum – 90%

Bronze
Silver
Gold
Platinum

The United States Department of Health & Human Services compiled data on the premium averages American citizens can expect this 2017. In AR, you can expect the following:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $379

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $138

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $248

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $897

Do you qualify for an exemption?

Some people simply want to opt out of having health insurance. Although most would have to pay penalty, those who satisfy certain criteria will receive an exemption. Here are a few examples:

  • The lowest-priced plan available still exceeds one’s household income by 8.13%

  • Income is less than the level requiring filing

  • Financial hardships

Health insurance coverage and income share: The relationship

Most people rely on their salaries to pay their dues, including premiums. As poverty rates go down, so does the percentage of uninsured individuals. Thankfully, the average household income in the United States went up by 5.2% in 2015, from the reported $53,718 in 2014 to $56,516. This increase led to an increase of 234,000 insured AK residents.

Affordable insurance is available in your state

Yes, your primary coverage option is the Affordable Act Care. However, you have numerous other choices, brought to you by other insurance providers. To continue enjoying the considerable savings health insurance delivers, do what you can to cut back on costs:  determine your qualifications for a special program as well as discounts.

References:

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/5/arkansas/

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

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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