These competitive markets are quite different than in southwest Georgia, the second most expensive region in the country. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia had no choice but to include in its network the Phoebe Putney Health System, which controls 86 percent of the market. The lowest premium in southwest Georgia is $461, two and a half times the rate in Chattanooga.
The 10 least expensive regions were determined by the lowest-cost silver premium for a 40-year-old person. The list is based on rates listed in federal and state insurance marketplaces and data compiled by Kaiser Family Foundation researchers. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) Cynthia Cox, a foundation analyst, said the cheapest silver plan cost less than $259 a month in half of the regional insurance markets.
Here are the least expensive areas:
$154: Minneapolis-St. Paul. Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne and Washington counties.
$164: Pittsburgh and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Warren, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
$166: Middle Minnesota. Benton, Stearns and Wright counties.
$167: Tucson, Ariz. Pima County.
$171: Northwestern Minnesota. Clearwater, Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties.
$173: Salt Lake City. Davis and Salt Lake counties.
$180: Knoxville, Tenn. Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier & Union.
$180: Western and North Central Minnesota. Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Big Stone, Cass, Chippewa, Clay, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Pope, Renville, Roseau, Sibley, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wadena Wilkin and Yellow Medicine counties. In Chisago County, the lowest premium is $162.
$181: Chattanooga, Tenn. Bledsoe, Bradley, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie counties.
The rankings stay the same no matter the age or family size. However, Vermont and New York do not allow insurers to charge more to older people and less to young ones. Therefore, some older consumers in those states may find their premiums are less expensive than people of the same age in these cheapest regions.
Tue, Feb 11 2014