The cost of health insurance continues to rise at an astounding clip. In the United States, the rate of healthcare inflation is estimated to be between 5 and 8 percent during any given year. In fact, the U.S. has some of the highest healthcare costs of any country in the developed world. Consumers who can't procure health insurance through their employers' group health insurance plans are often forced to spend thousands of dollars per year out of their own pockets or simply do without coverage. Despite recent legislative attempts to increase the number of Americans with access to health insurance, it's estimated that more than 40 million people in the United States currently lack adequate coverage.
One of the principal determinants of the cost of a given health insurance policy is the age of its holder. If you're 18 years old, chances are good that you're in solid health and have no "pre-existing" conditions that might dramatically increase your annual premiums. If you have no children and aren't pregnant, you might be able to procure a bare-bones health insurance policy for between $180 and $300 per month. The exact amount that you'll be required to pay may depend upon where you live and what you do for a living.
You may be able to increase the efficiency of your health insurance by purchasing a joint policy with your partner or spouse. Unfortunately, most insurance companies require their customers to marry before they can obtain such joint policies. If this isn't an option, your partner may need to purchase insurance on his or her own.
If your earning power is limited, you should consider remaining attached to your parents' health insurance policy for a few years. This will dramatically reduce your health insurance costs and may permit you to receive valuable benefits like dental and vision coverage. Most single-coverage health insurance plans don't make any provisions for such "non-core" coverages. Of course, this approach does have one key drawback: Since he or she isn't related to your parents by blood, your partner can't be included on their policy.
It's important to note that any pre-existing medical conditions or extenuating circumstances could dramatically increase your insurance costs. If you have a treatable but expensive condition like diabetes, you should expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 per month for adequate health insurance coverage. Likewise, your health insurance costs will shoot up as soon as you or your partner becomes pregnant.