Healthcare has been one of the biggest talking points in politics over the past several decades. Many factors determine health insurance rates and premiums and what’s offered. An individual seeking healthcare may have options provided by an employer or may get health insurance through the ACA. Depending on a person’s income and health, he may have several options to choose from or may only be able to qualify for certain plans. With this in mind, what is the average health insurance cost? With so many different variables impacting how much health insurance will cost a person on a monthly or yearly basis, we’re better off breaking things down instead of giving one general number. So what are some of the biggest factors in determining how health insurance costs can vary? Certainly the type of plan someone has and the tier of plan she has go a long way. Medical history — not to mention whether the person is a smoker — can play a role in whether insurers give a higher rate. Someone in need of insurance for a family is going to have a higher premium than someone seeking an individual plan.

Two factors that can also play a large role in healthcare rates and premiums is how old someone is and where he lives. Age plays a big role in the cost of a premium for health insurance; generally, younger people have lower premiums, as they are seen as less risky and less likely to require more medical care. Often, the starting point for an insurance rate is based on that of an individual who is 21 years old. 200 per month. This is also an average for a Silver insurance plan — below Gold and Platinum plans, but above Bronze plans. How does the breakdown of premiums by age look? Slowly in small increments, the average premium will increase. Slowly the amount it goes up increases. Going through the list of ages, this pattern is pretty consistent. From here, though, the premiums start going up at higher rates. After age 50, premiums rise tremendously. It is also important to note that while this is a general guideline, prices vary dramatically from state to state.

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Some states, like New York, don’t factor age into premiums at all. Residents of different states can see some pretty stark differences in the average cost of health insurance. Which states have the highest premiums, and which ones have the lowest? 426 for a 21 year old. 1,156.16 for a 60 year old. These are particularly extreme examples, but even states that aren’t quite as high compared to the average rates can have monthly premiums not everyone can afford. Still, there are states where premiums aren’t as expensive as these. 488.52 at 60), it is still a lesser figure than other states. 210 per month. Check your state for more details, because the range of premiums can vary even more wildly than you may expect. ValuePenguin’s list did not include every state, such as Massachusetts. Less surprising, though, is how the cost will differ based on the plan you use. After all, different plans offer different services, and those with more services and flexibility come at the price of a higher premium. The four types of plans you may be able to get for your health insurance are a health maintenance organization (HMO), point-of-service (POS), preferred provider organization (PPO) and exclusive provider organization (EPO). In addition to the different sorts of health plans, the offerings tend to get divided even further into “metal” tiers, as well as a lower “catastrophic” tier. These metal tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum — all offer progressively more coverage for medical care, and that results in progressively higher premiums for each tier. Need help preparing for retirement? Check out Retirement Daily.

3 above) if you can. Pick a few breakfast foods that provide plenty of nutrients, such as eggs, oatmeal, whole grain rice, vegetables, berries, and come up with simple meal ideas. Do your best to avoid sugary breakfast foods, as these will cause mid-morning spikes and crashes in blood sugar, and may trigger more cravings for sweet foods. To me, this is the biggest factor of success in maintaining a consistent heathy diet. It will make you feel in control a lot more, and you will no longer blame yourself for being too tired and cooking pasta or microwaving TV dinners five times a week. Meal planning is as simple as sitting down for 30 minutes per week with a pen and a weekly meal planner and jotting down ideas for every meal. It also has great side benefits: it takes a lot of stress off your shoulders (and stress is not healthy) and it boosts your productivity. This way, you will have more time for your other activities and you’ll be more available to spend quality time with your kids.

Make a list of your favorite meals as well as the new healthy recipes you want to introduce in your diet. Involve your children. It’s not about them dictating the menu, it’s about them participating in meal planning, shopping and preparation. This will give them ownership in the meal and help avoid fussiness at mealtime. Schedule themed dinners. Italian, Chinese or Indian themed meals are a lot of fun and a great opportunity to try new foods and new flavors. The food industry knows kids love sweet, fizzy juices, hence the ever-growing choice of fruit juices and soft drinks in your grocery store. And let’s face it, most moms find getting kids to drink water to be a real challenge. When my first son was one year old, he would point the fruit juice to the nanny, and she would serve him a glass. Two glasses. Or more. Although I was quick to put an end to this habit, it took me close to 2 years until I managed to have him drink only water and turn down sodas and fruit juices.

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