Report: Premiums differ from urban, rural areas

People living in rural states have access to fewer insurance plans and higher premiums compared to consumers in the rest of the country, according to a new report from the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In fact, urban and rural areas widely differ even within the same state. The report found that the premium for the second-lowest silver plan on the health insurance exchanges for a 50-year-old nonsmoker costs $369 in urban areas, compared to $387 in rural areas. But in states with 50 percent or more of consumers eligible for exchanges living in rural counties, the average premium is $452 compared to $402 in states where less than 5 percent of those eligible live in rural counties. "Competition, or lack thereof, seems to be having the expected effect on marketplace premiums," said Katherine Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "It remains to be seen how the entry of new insurers will affect prices in 2015 and beyond." Report