One last piece about short-term plans: you can now keep a short-term plan for a year and renew them twice. In effect, that means short-term plans can now last three years. These extensions from previous regulations gives short-term plans a more even playing with regular health insurance. However, beware of short-term plan limitations before deciding on one of those plans.
Some of the factors that cause rate increases are unrelated to recent government intervention, including things like general increases in the cost of medical care and prescription drugs. But throughout 2018, we've been hearing about how Congress and the Trump Administration were causing premiums to be higher for 2019 than they would otherwise have been. And that's true, despite the fact that overall average premiums are only increasingly slightly.
Healthcare can contribute to a significant part of a country's economy. In 2011, the healthcare industry consumed an average of 9.3 percent of the GDP or US$ 3,322 (PPP-adjusted) per capita across the 34 members of OECD countries. The US (17.7%, or US$ PPP 8,508), the Netherlands (11.9%, 5,099), France (11.6%, 4,118), Germany (11.3%, 4,495), Canada (11.2%, 5669), and Switzerland (11%, 5,634) were the top spenders, however life expectancy in total population at birth was highest in Switzerland (82.8 years), Japan and Italy (82.7), Spain and Iceland (82.4), France (82.2) and Australia (82.0), while OECD's average exceeds 80 years for the first time ever in 2011: 80.1 years, a gain of 10 years since 1970. The US (78.7 years) ranges only on place 26 among the 34 OECD member countries, but has the highest costs by far. All OECD countries have achieved universal (or almost universal) health coverage, except the US and Mexico. (see also international comparisons.)
Health insurance costs vary in many ways. Deductibles, premiums, and copayments all play into what your health insurance costs will come out to. eHealth studies have shown that in 2018 the average individual premium was $393 without any subsidies. By comparing quotes, and speaking with a licensed agent, you might be able to find prices significantly lower than this, that still meet your needs. Taking the time to shop around and compare can make a huge difference in what you’re paying for your health insurance.
So we can expect a slight decline in the value of premium subsidies in 2019, on the heels of two consecutive years when average premium subsidy amounts increased significantly. But the cost of your specific health insurance policy could go up or it could go down, depending on whether you receive a premium subsidy (most exchange enrollees do, but everyone who enrolls outside the exchange pays full price), and how much your plan's price is changing.
Prescription drug plans are a form of insurance offered through some health insurance plans. In the U.S., the patient usually pays a copayment and the prescription drug insurance part or all of the balance for drugs covered in the formulary of the plan. Such plans are routinely part of national health insurance programs. For example, in the province of Quebec, Canada, prescription drug insurance is universally required as part of the public health insurance plan, but may be purchased and administered either through private or group plans, or through the public plan.
The Affordable Care Act has delivered health insurance for millions who were unable to find affordable coverage on the individual market in the past. And, while we strongly encourage our readers to take advantage of the comprehensive ACA-compliant coverage, we do recognize that there is a segment of the individual market population that is facing daunting rate increases. We realize that their coverage options may be limited.