(MoneyWatch) More than 40 percent of Americans under the age of 30 say they would consider relocating if it meant access to better and/or less-expensive health insurance, according to a new study.
While teens and 20-somethings are the age group usually most willing to move in general, the survey by Bankrate.com also found that 28 percent of all Americans, no matter the age, would consider moving to a new state or county if it improved their coverage or made it less expensive.
Lower income earners also showed a big interest in relocating to improve their coverage. Nearly 30 percent of those with an annual household income of less than $30,000 said they would consider moving under these circumstances. Location has a greater practical impact on this group in particular, because half of the states declined federal funds to expand Medicaid, and so where they live can dictate their access to coverage.
A Bankrate map, based on data from the Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Census, shows different health insurance costs at the county level across the nation. It makes clear that people frequently wouldn’t have to move very far to improve their health insurance. For example, residents of Uinta County, Wyoming, pay health insurance costs that are much more expensive than average while their neighbors in next-door Summit County, Utah, pay much less than average.
“This suggests that many people could move and get better, cheaper health insurance without having to up-end their entire lives,” Doug Whiteman, a Bankrate.com insurance analyst, said in a statement. “We’re not necessarily talking about moving across the country and needing to find new jobs, schools, friends and so on. Sometimes moving just a few miles can significantly improve your health insurance situation.”
The survey also looked at how people feel about the Affordable Care Act since the troubled launch of the HealthCare.gov website:
· A third of all Americans say they are feeling more negative about Obamacare than they were one year ago. 15 percent are feeling more positive.
· Slightly more than 45 percent of rural residents think worse of the program than a year ago, while 12 percent said they feel better about it. Urban residents, meanwhile, are evenly divided.
· Young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most likely to say their opinion of the law has grown more positive. 16 percent say their health insurance is improving. 15 percent say they are better able to handle health care expenses. And 20 percent say they have a higher opinion of Obamacare than they did a year ago.
· 40 percent of Americans say their monthly health care spending is higher than a year ago. Only five percent say it is lower.