To help people understand how premiums are changing in 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) used Tableau Public to build an interactive, county-level map. The map allows people to select a metal level (bronze, silver, or gold) and an example income from a dropdown parameter. Interacting with the map allows people to see the data story for themselves: while premiums are rising in much of the country for unsubsidized people, net premiums are decreasing on average for those with subsidies, especially for bronze and gold plans.
People can visualize the larger trends and pull specific examples for their own county in the rollover tooltip; they can even filter the map to a specific state of interest. This map also helps reporters find the extreme examples, and investigate why some areas of the country are experiencing steep premium increases.
KFF has also published two additional maps that show where people may be better off switching to bronze or gold plans:
This map shows where subsidized people can purchase a bronze plan for no additional premium. KFF estimates at least 4.5 million currently uninsured people could obtain a bronze plan at no cost in 2018, after taking their premium tax credit into account. In this map, the orange and yellow counties indicate where an individual’s tax credit would cover the full cost of the cheapest bronze plan in their area.
Additionally, this map shows where consumers could be better off switching from a silver plan to a gold plan. The yellow and gold counties are where the least expensive gold plans for a 40-year-old cost less than the lowest-cost silver plan (before subsidies). Consumers in these counties could be better off switching to gold, because they would pay less per month and have lower deductible and copays.
It is important to note that these maps only show estimated premiums for a 40-year-old at example income levels. What you will actually pay for health insurance depends on your family situation—where you live, how much money you make, your age, and the size of your household. Nevertheless, these maps can help consumers and reporters make sense of the counterintuitive way premiums are changing this year.