Highlight on Utah: Salt Lake City Ranked Sixth on Least Expensive Health Insurance Markets in U.S.

Salt Lake City, Utah, has been ranked as having the sixth lowest average monthly premium on the federal Health Exchange, reported Kaiser Health News and National Public Radio (NPR). The rankings are based on the lowest offered silver plan premium for a 40-year-old person, the plan range most consumers have selected. According to the report, the least expensive silver plan for a 40-year-old person in Salt Lake and Davis counties has a monthly premium of just $173, which is slightly more than a third of the highest premium for an equivalent plan in Colorado: $483, reports Kaiser Health News. The top ten least expensive health insurance market rankings remained the same when evaluating different ages and family sizes.

According to Kaiser and NPR, lower cost regions in the U.S. harbored less competition between doctors and hospitals, permitting insurers to provide lower rates. In addition, doctors were more likely to work on a salary, as opposed to a “by procedure” basis. Patient care is at the forefront in these states, noted the report, limiting financial incentives to perform high numbers of procedures and allowing specialists to work “detached from each other.”

Utah’s average monthly premium for an individual plan also comes in at $173, matching Salt Lake and Davis counties’ lowest silver plan premium.  The state’s low rates have long been attributed to state demographics, including its youth and relative health, reports The Salt Lake Tribune. In addition, Intermountain Healthcare, one of Utah’s chief insurers, “has been lauded for delivering high-quality, cost-effective care.” Kaiser and NPR noted that Intermountain Healthcare has “been at the forefront of integrated care,” and fosters “collaboration among primary care doctors, specialists and nurses.” Utah’s predominantly Mormon population has also contributed to lower premiums, as they often spend less on health care than other residents in any other state in the country.

The ten least expensive health insurance markets in the U.S. include: (1) Minneapolis-St. Paul ($154); (2) Pittsburgh and Northwestern Pennsylvania ($164); (3) Middle Minnesota ($166); (4) Tucson, Arizona ($167); (5) Northwestern Minnesota ($171); (6) Salt Lake City ($173); (7) Hawaii ($176); (8) Knoxville, Tennessee ($180); (9) Western and North Central Minnesota ($180); and (10) Chattanooga, Tennessee ($181).

The ten most expensive health insurance markets in the U.S. include: (1) Colorado Mountain Resort Region ($483); (2) Southwest Georgia ($461); (3) Rural Nevada ($456); (4) Far western Wisconsin ($445); (5) Southern Georgia ($423); (6) Most of Wyoming ($405); (7) Southeast Mississippi ($399); (8) Vermont ($395); (9) Fairfield, Connecticut ($383); and (10) Alaska ($381).