What Is the Average Health Insurance Premium?

The Changing Cost of Health Care in the U.S.

Female doctor talking with patient
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In 2019, health care spending for Americans reached $3.8 trillion, or an average of $11,582 per person. These numbers are staggering. What are Americans getting for their money? 

Learn more about the factors impacting the cost of health care in the U.S. and the changes over recent years.

Key Takeaways

  • In 2021, the average monthly premium across all types of U.S. health plans is just under $500.
  • Premiums will vary by factors such as age, location, and plan type.
  • The average family of four in the U.S. spent $25,011 on health insurance in 2020. This includes both premiums and deductibles.
  • Total health care spending is projected to hit $6 trillion by 2027.

Health Care Costs Based on Age and State

Health care costs vary based on your age and the state you live in. As you might expect, younger, healthier adults pay the least for health care coverage. But even for younger adults, the cost of coverage varies greatly based on location.

In 2021, the average cost of a monthly health insurance premium in the U.S. is $495 per month. The average annual deductible is $5,940. In some places, the cost varies greatly from the national average. In West Virginia, the average premium is $712 with a deductible of $8,540; in next-door Maryland, the average is only $344 with a $4,122 deductible.

Age is another big factor when it comes to the costs of health insurance. Take a look at this breakdown by age for the average monthly health care premium without subsidies:

  • 18 and under: $236
  • 18-24 years: $278
  • 25-34 years: $329
  • 35-44 years: $411
  • 45-54 years: $551
  • 55-64 years: $784

The Costs of Individual vs. Family Plans

The Affordable Care Act offers some subsidies to make health insurance more affordable. But not everyone qualifies.

In 2020, health insurance premiums for unsubsidized individual customers were $456 per month on average, while family premiums averaged $1,152 per month. The average individual deductible was $4,364; the family deductible averaged $8,439.

Over the course of a year, the average health spending for a family of four in the U.S. was $25,011 in 2020. This figure includes spending on monthly premiums. It also includes meeting the deductible.

How Premiums Costs Have Changed in Recent Years

In recent years, health care costs have kept rising for both individuals and families in the U.S. This is also true for monthly and annual insurance premiums. The average yearly premium for a family has increased by 22% since 2015; it's increased by 55% since 2010.

Health care spending in the U.S. grows each year. Projections estimate yearly annual spending of nearly $6 trillion by 2027, compared to $3.8 trillion in 2019.

Understanding Tiered Coverage

Some health care providers offer tiered coverage. This is in an effort to allow customers to choose a plan that fits both their medical needs and their budget.

A basic benefits package will have higher deductibles and co-pays, but it will go for a much cheaper monthly premium. On the other hand, the higher-tiered plans with low deductibles and little or no out-of-pocket expenses may be out of reach for many people.

But even basic health care coverage with higher deductibles and co-pays is better than the alternative—no health care coverage at all.

Here are the statistics for average individual monthly health insurance premiums based on tiered-plan choice:

  • Catastrophic: $195. This insurance covers essential health care benefits only.
  • Bronze: $448. A bronze plan has low monthly payments for basic health care benefits. You'll have a higher deductible.
  • Silver: $483. Silver plans offer more coverage at a higher monthly premium but with a lower deductible.
  • Gold: $291. A gold plan offers comprehensive health care coverage with higher monthly premiums and low out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Platinum: $363. The platinum plan offers the most comprehensive health care benefits package with the highest monthly premium of all plans. You'll pay little to no out-of-pocket expenses.

Tips for Finding Health Care Coverage

With the rising costs of health care, how can Americans save on health care and the cost of insurance? Be diligent and do your research to compare plans. That way, you can get the most comprehensive health coverage you can afford.

If your employer offers health insurance and pays for a large portion of the premium, it is a great option to think about. If not, shop the health insurance exchange for affordable coverage. Check to see if you qualify for any subsidies to help offset the cost of health insurance. Health savings accounts can also help you pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles.

Finally, if you have a catastrophic accident or illness, ask the hospital for help with a payment plan. Many hospitals will reduce their charges for those who are unable to obtain insurance.