June 28, 2005


Long Beach has cheapest health insurance for young singles

A story released by eHealthInsurance over PR Newswire reports that by drinking one less latte a day, many 30-year-olds would save enough to purchase health insurance in most of the largest 50 cities in the country. In Long Beach, Calif., the city with the most affordable health insurance nationwide for young singles, the cost of about 17 average-sized lattes would cover the monthly premium for a health insurance plan.

The Most Affordable Cities For Individuals to Buy Health Insurance is the first national report on the largest cities in the U.S. with the most affordable health insurance options for 30-year-old individuals. The report was released today by eHealthInsurance, the nation's leading online health insurance source for individuals and families.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25 to 34-year-olds are the largest segment of the uninsured, and currently represent ten million, or 23% of the total uninsured population. Many of these individuals can afford health insurance, but they may not be aware of the options available in the individual health insurance market. This group is often described as the "young invincibles," believing that being young and healthy makes health insurance unnecessary. The unfortunate truth is that people in this age group can easily find themselves starting their lives and careers with a substantial debt due to medical bills stemming from unforeseen accidents or illnesses.

A 32-year-old construction worker from Austin, Texas, John was uninsured for several years. His construction company did not offer him health benefits and, as with many young men in this age group, John felt that buying health insurance was a waste of money since he was young and healthy -- until he was in a car accident. After a helicopter ride to the nearest emergency room, numerous tests and medical services, his medical bills came to $23,000. "I've been paying off what little I can each month," John said. "To protect myself for the future, I went online and found an affordable health plan. I figure, paying off the deductible is nothing compared to the debt I'm paying off now!"

It's important that young and uninsured people realize that their health, as well as their financial future, are at stake," said Gary Lauer, CEO of eHealthInsurance. "We created this report to raise awareness with young people that there are affordable solutions available in most of the country so they can make an informed choice about their fiscal and physical health."

The other cities topping the list of Most Affordable Cities are (2) Sacramento, Calif.; (3) Fresno, Calif.; (4) San Diego, Calif.; (5) Columbus, Ohio; (6) San Jose, Calif.; (7) San Francisco, Calif.; (8) Oakland, Calif.; (9) Mesa, Ariz.; and (10) Tucson, Ariz. The premiums quoted for an individual plan in these cities ranged from $54 to $58.77 per month.

A key trait shared by cities with the most affordable health insurance is the large number of health insurance options available for individuals; for example, the top-ranked cities have at least 66 plans available on eHealthInsurance.com. The number of options reflects an open, free market with less restrictive state regulations. Conversely, health insurance in the most expensive cities, New York City and Boston, is heavily regulated with requirements such as guaranteed issue. These requirements make health insurance more expensive for carriers, which in turn contribute to higher insurance premiums for consumers.