Health insurance is an essential part of a benefits package for any employer, and workers rely on this protection to stay healthy and treat both urgent and chronic medical needs. However, the cost of health insurance can be complex; while employers may cover some of the expenses, the rest is passed on to employees in most circumstances.
Understanding how much to budget for insurance coverage and what factors influence its cost is the first step toward making a wise financial strategy for tackling this element of a household’s life.
Here is an overview of the average cost of health insurance in Virginia and the criteria under evaluation when the cost is calculated.
What Is the Average Cost of Health Insurance in Virginia?
Virginia is one of the least expensive states in the US regarding health insurance. Medicare and group coverage come in at less than the national average in terms of cost, while individual and Medicaid coverage are comparable.
Because group coverage is by far the most common (with just shy of 4.5 million Virginia residents relying on this type, compared to the following most popular Medicare at slightly more than 1 million), Virginia comes ahead for health insurance costs compared to other states. This is despite Virginians seeing the doctor (and therefore using their group coverage) more frequently than the national average, at 5.9 visits per year compared to the US standard of 5.2.
Most Virginians will pay about $4,900 annually for group coverage or a little more than $400 monthly. Those utilizing individual coverage pay less, at about $4,000 per year. However, how much health insurance costs will depend on various factors, some within the affected party’s control and others not.
Factors That Impact Insurance Costs
Insurance providers will consider five distinct areas when determining a plan’s cost. These are:
- The type of plan – Overall, a group health insurance plan will cost less than an individual option. While the numbers above indicate differently, remember that the private person fully funds an individual plan. Compare this to a group plan, where an employer can pay some or all of the premium. Because group plans spread the risk among a larger group for coverage, they are typically the more affordable of the two.
- Age – A young person is likely to receive a lower premium for health insurance than one who is older. This is because young people tend to have fewer health problems, or if they do encounter medical issues, they are often less severe or long-lasting than those faced by older individuals. Because older folks will, on average, use their health insurance more often, the insurer will charge higher premiums.
- Location – One element not within your control is where the plan is offered. If you live or work in a high-cost-of-living area, your plan’s premiums may reflect this overall economic climate.
- Additional members – One of the simplest ways to decrease the cost of covering a person is to add them to an existing insurance plan. While this will increase the plan’s overall cost, each person’s “premium” will be lower as a result. It is easier for insurers to extend coverage to multiple people, such as a spouse and dependent children, than to create and manage separate plans for each. To facilitate this more straightforward arrangement, premiums are lower when individuals group.
- Tobacco use – While recent legislation has prohibited insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions, it is still standard to increase the premiums for individuals who report tobacco use. In Virginia, insurers will be limited to charging 1.5 times more for health insurance for tobacco users than nonusers; other states may have no cap on this surcharge. This law goes into effect in January 2024. Smokers are encouraged to eliminate their tobacco use, not only to save money but to preserve their health as well.
Get Comprehensive Insurance Coverage from a Reputable Insurer
Acquiring health insurance can be an expensive proposition. Still, this cost can be reduced by understanding the many factors that impact premiums. Virginia already offers competitive pricing for health insurance compared to the rest of the US.
By working with a skilled insurance agency such as Burton & Company, you can secure personalized plans that reduce unnecessary spending while providing the coverage you need. Contact Burton & Company to learn more about how much health insurance in Virginia may cost and what you can do to impact that figure.