Health insurance could send consumers across state lines

More than one in four Americans would move to another state or even another county to get better or cheaper healthcare coverage, according to a survey from Bankrate. Of those, 9 percent consider it a major reason to relocate and 19 percent deemed it a minor reason.

Bankrate, an online financial news service, surveyed about 1,000 adults in November, and found 42 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 27 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds cited better or cheaper health insurance as a reason to move. About 32 percent of low-income people would consider relocating for health insurance.

When looking at party lines, the survey showed 12 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of independents identified cheaper health insurance as a major reason to move.

"Health insurance has become such a considerable expense for American consumers that it's right up there with other life factors that could influence a move across state lines," Janet Schwartz, assistant professor of marketing at Tulane University, said in the survey report.

People's willingness to move for health insurance highlights consumer frustration with healthcare costs, as well as the public's growing awareness of different geographical pricing now that health insurance exchanges allow consumers to compare plans by ZIP code, according to the survey.

Such plan comparisons, according to Bankrate, show a person in Mississippi could move to Alabama for much lower health insurance rates.

Alabama is among 11 states--including Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia--that are going beyond the healthcare reform law to protect consumers from premium increases. Researchers from the Urban Institute and the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute found these states are implementing strategies such as limiting insurers from selling catastrophic plans and locking out insurers if they don't follow certain regulations, FierceHealthPayer recently reported.

To learn more:
- here's the survey

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