How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?

Health Insurance Prices

Due to the complex health insurance system in the United States, health insurance quotes can be very difficult to estimate. However, very basic quotes can be devised based on key factors.

Typical costs:

  • 2008 figures from the Kaiser Foundation state that the average cost of employer-provided, group health insurance was $4700 per year for an individual and $17,700 per year for a family of four.
  • Generally, individual health insurance (that purchased outside of an employer or government plan) is more expensive.
  • Affordable health insurance will usually include a high deductible (usually around $1000-$2000 and as much as $5000 in some cases.). This is sometimes known as emergency or catastrophic health insurance and will protect you if serious care or long-term hospitalization is needed. These kinds of health insurance plans can cost as little as $50 per month.

Additional costs:

  • Most HMO plans require out-of-pocket co-payments of around $10-$40 for visits to the doctor and prescription medicine.
  • Some PPO plans also include co-payments, and may additionally charge for what's called co-insurance, which is calculated as a percentage of the cost of a given service. These are often incurred when using a doctor or care provider outside of the network.
  • Those people who smoke, are overweight and use drugs or alcohol will pay more for health insurance, as will those with a history of bad health.


  • A short-term health insurance plan is an affordable option for people between jobs or otherwise have a gap in coverage. The cost of a short-term plan is generally the same as an individual health insurance quote, but because it is temporary will keep premiums to a minimum.
  • Just as unhealthy practices such as smoking and being overweight increase health insurance rates, maintaining healthy habits will lower the cost. People with a history of good health will also pay less.

Shopping for health insurance:

  • offers free price quotes for health insurance, as well as information pertaining to commonly asked questions.
  • ehealthinsurance is an online tool that allows people to compare rates among multiple providers.
  • Check out an outline of President Obama's proposed health care reform here, including what changes to the existing system people can ex