Northeast Missourians paying higher health care rates because of location
As the deadline to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act gets closer, some Tri-State residents could be paying more for the same coverage. The reason is because of where you live.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri is broken up into 10 rating ID areas, and Northeast Missourians may end up paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more per year than residents in other parts of the state for the same coverage. For many, signing up for health insurance can be complicated but also frustrating. Keri Miller said she's not happy she has to pay more because of where she lives.
"I think it is unfair and it puts everyone here at a disadvantage," Miller said.
Trust GDC insurance benefit specialist Clare Blase said the reason Northeast Missourians have to pay more is because there's more people in the area who don't have health insurance and that causes healthcare costs to rise.
"So when you look at charitable write offs and free clinic write offs and things like that in rural areas like we have here you're going to see that those areas match up," Blase said.
A low cost catastrophic plan for a 40-year-old would cost a resident in Northeast Missouri $198 a month but that same coverage would cost a St. Louis County resident $122 a month. While it's a major difference now, Blase said if more residents were insured, costs for everyone can go down because hospitals won't have to pass on the costs for caring for the uninsured.
"Maybe if they have access and utilize insurance, then we can negate some of these heart attacks, major strokes, cancers that we end up paying for as a community later on down the road," Blase said.
Residents like Miller say that extra cost is putting an even bigger burden on a community.
"We're already limited with the healthcare options that we have in this area because we do have fewer hospitals. You know less people give you fewer hospitals, fewer health clinics and now you're telling me we're going to have to pay more for health insurance too," Miller said.
To see how much a health insurance plan would cost you per month, you can click on the link. Starting March 31st, everyone must have health insurance or pay a penalty.