What does health insurance cost in the USA?
While the prices for health insurance are quite uniform, especially for the public health insurance companies in Germany, this cannot be said for the prices in the USA.
Depending on the place of residence (city or country), state, size of the company, income, age, whether one is a smoker and many other factors, the cost of health insurance is determined. Likewise, the standard of care desired and cost recovery also play a role.
Looking at the 2021 figures, average premiums are highest in West Virginia ($712) and lowest in New Hampshire ($335). In contrast, the national average is $495. Rates are for a 40-year-old insured.
However, there is a stark difference in how costs are covered. In the U.S., rates are ranked from bronze – platinum, symbolizing the type of coverage. Platinum plans cover about 90% of all costs, while bronze plans cover very few things.
Average monthly payments for a 40-year-old here range from $387 for bronze, to $709 for platinum.⁵
However, the cost differs even further depending on which company one takes out an insurance contract through. The company also has a big impact on the cost, as about 70% is often covered by the employer.
That’s why the average monthly premiums for a single person in 2019 were only $103.50, rather than several hundred.⁶
How do I find health insurance after moving to the U.S.?
There are different ways to get new health insurance after moving to the US. The U.S. government lists the following options, among others, on an info page⁷:
A group plan from an employer
A self-selected plan from an insurance company
A plan from the state’s “Health Insurance Marketplace”
A plan from the state, if the state offers one
The different plan options for health insurance in the U.S.
How much your health insurance will cover depends primarily on where it is on the bronze to platinum spectrum. When selecting a plan from the Marketplace, there are also several options available to further customize your plan.
In doing so, you can usually choose for a selected tariff (Bronze, Gold, etc.) whether it should be more HMO or PPO. However, not all options are available for every tariff.
Health insurance in the USA is a complex issue, but one you should not shy away from. If you have only a short stay, a travel health insurance is sufficient and in case of a work assignment even your German health insurance might be sufficient.
If you want to live and work in the USA, you should think carefully about what you expect from your health insurance. The premiums and coverage vary drastically from one plan to another. A plus point, however, is that an employer usually covers more than half of the costs.