When the 2017 open enrolment came to a conclusion, most of the country’s citizens saw a considerable upward change in their health coverage. For the entire United States, rate increases averaged at 25%, with many places having a per-state median higher than this. And while North Dakota would see considerable changes in its health care sector if it continued to make coverage easier for its residents to access, as well as improvements in its health ratings, its residents can expect to pay a lot lower towards their health insurance. The state managed to secure the lowest rate increase in the country (together with Rhode Island) at only 1.3%.

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The state’s health ratings

The State falls a little short when it comes to health ratings though, ranking only 26th (of 51) in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. It scored an above average quintile of 2 for Access, Prevention & Treatment, as well as Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs. It received a below average score of 3 in both Healthy Lives and Equity though. Here are some key takeaways from the study’s assessment of the state’s health and lifestyle performance:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 70 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 17.9 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 15.9 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 19%

  • Adult obesity: 33%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 36%

As for health insurance access, here are a few notable findings:

  • 10% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 7% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 7% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 17% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

Boasting of an uninsured rating below 7%

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services performed a five-year assessment of the uninsured rating of all the states and the District of Columbia, from 2010 to 2015. It found that the Peace Garden State, with its then estimated population of 756,927 (2015, latest data1), saw a decrease in the number of people who went without insurance during the specified time frame. From the starting count of 9.8%, it went down two points to 7.8%.

In a separate Gallup study conducted from 2013 to 2015, ND secured 8th place in the ranking of states with the biggest reductions in their uninsured population. With it dropping 8.1 percentage-points, it ended 2015 with an uninsured rating of just 6.9%.

Much thanks to the approved one-digit rate increase average, premiums haven’t gone up drastically in the state.

Your individual quotes will still depend on many other factors, but to give you some idea on what you can expect this year’s premiums to look like, take a look at these projections from the United States Department of Health & Human Services:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $378

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $129

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $288

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,044

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405

Enrol now to protect yourself

Under the Affordable Care Act, which the government still implements this year, some people fell under the health insurance-exempted group. In case you didn’t participate in the open enrolment during this year or the previous one because you qualified for exemption, you should rethink your decision and obtain coverage. Always keep in mind medical and hospital services continue to become more expensive, and going without insurance can mean hefty expenditures in the future.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/north_dakota-state-health-insurance-exchange/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/36/north-dakota/

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

http://www.gallup.com/poll/189023/arkansas-kentucky-set-pace-reducing-uninsured-rate.aspx?

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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