Typical U.S. residents who are paying for health insurance out of pocket may be willing to pay about $100 per month, and only about $100 per month, for coverage out of pocket.
Analysts at eHealth Inc., the web broker that owns eHealthInsurance.com, have published data supporting that possibility in a new look at what eHealthInsurance.com paid for short-term health insurance from February through October.
The Affordable Care Act requires issuers of true individual major medical insurance to follow strict benefits, pricing and underwriting rules, and to sell coverage only during a short open enrollment period.
Issuers of short-term health insurance can offer similar benefits, especially for basic sick care and injury care, but, in most states, they operate without the kinds of rules that apply to major medical coverage issuers. They can offer whatever benefits and prices, and apply whatever medical underwriting requirements, the market will bear.
The eHealth analysts found that, in the real, free short-term health insurance world, the actual price its customers pay for short-term health insurance out of pocket has fallen to $109 per month this year, from $110 per month in 2016.
The average price for family coverage fell to $264 per month, from $276 per month.
The eHealth analysts did not talk about how the value of the short-term health plans’ benefits changed over time, or whether the short-term health issuers’ underwriting requirements seemed to get tougher or easier.
The eHealth short-term health price finding may reflect the idea that consumers think “about a $100 per month” is a reasonable price for many different types of health coverage.