Some of the major factors affecting health insurance premiums are:
- State and federal laws: State legislation dictates what health insurance must cover and how much insurers can charge. This can vary between states.
- The type of insurance: Whether you are insured by an employer's group plan or buy it on your own is a factor in how much you'll pay.
- Income level: Your nature of work and the amount of risk you're exposed to at work affect the premium charges. Due to subsidies, low-wage workers tend to pay more through employers but may pay less through a federal or state exchange.
- Employer size: If your employer sponsors your health insurance, its premium may vary accordingly. Insurance is usually cheaper at large companies.
- State of residence: State and county laws regulating brokers and other related policies also have a hand in determining premiums and affordability.
- Who is added to your plan: Individual plans are more affordable than plans that cover your spouse or dependents, but that doesn't mean you should purchase a separate policy for everyone in your family.
- Plan type: Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and platinum plans through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace tend to cost the most.
- Age: Health insurance premiums are generally more affordable when you're younger. The rates go up as a policyholder gets older, with the largest increases after age 55.
- Tobacco use: You'll typically pay more for health insurance if you use tobacco. In many states, premiums could be up to 50% higher than those paid by someone who doesn't smoke, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.