The cheapest individual health insurance for most people is a bronze plan, which provides basic coverage at affordable prices. But plans with the lowest premiums may cost you more in the long run if they have a limited network of doctors or lower cost-sharing benefits. To find the best cheap health insurance for you, start with the health coverage you need, then compare the cheapest quotes.
the cheapest health insurance by state
An affordable individual health insurance plan costs about $336 per month for the most affordable bronze plan in each state. but many people don’t have to pay full price.
People with low incomes can pay a discounted rate on Marketplace plans with premium tax credits or get free or low-cost insurance through Medicaid. for example, a person earning $35,000 a year would pay an average of $47 per month for the cheapest bronze plan in each state.
Availability and rates of health insurance policies vary by location and other factors such as age and income.
cheaper health insurance companies
kaiser Permanente has some of the cheapest plans, with average rates of $338 per month for a bronze plan. If Kaiser doesn’t offer plans in your area, other affordable providers include Friday Health Plan with a Bronze plan averaging $361 per month, or Ambetter at $377 per month. month.
When evaluating affordable health insurance policies, some companies will consistently offer lower rates than others. however, there is often a trade-off in choosing a low-cost provider. For example, Kaiser Permanente health insurance has a limited network of doctors, and Ambetter has below-average customer service. It’s important to evaluate these factors when choosing the best policy for your family.
how to choose the cheapest health insurance plan
The cheapest health insurance for you depends on your household income and your medical needs. Focus on choosing the right type of plan first, because this will have a bigger impact on your total costs than which company you choose.
For those looking for a cheap health plan and don’t have insurance through a job, we recommend a bronze plan. It has very low rates and coverage that includes essential health benefits like prescription drugs, mental health services, and preventive care. Due to additional discounts offered through the inflation reduction law, about 80% of applicants can find a bronze health insurance plan for $10 a month after tax credits.
For those who need moderate amounts of health care or who want a little better coverage, it may be more cost-effective to upgrade to a silver plan. These plans cost a little more each month, but better benefits can help you save on health care.
Medicaid is the cheapest health insurance for people with low incomes. Eligibility varies by state, but in many states, you might qualify as an individual earning less than $18,754 or a family of four with income less than $38,295.
Another option is a short-term health insurance plan, which can provide temporary coverage at affordable prices. however, plans typically have no restrictions or limitations on coverage.
cheaper bronze plans
Monthly costs are an average of the 2022 Bronze and Extended Bronze plans for a 40-year-old who purchases a full price plan. the average was calculated across eight states using cms data.
a bronze plan is the most affordable health insurance with comprehensive medical benefits. These plans adhere to the Affordable Care Act guidelines and must include free preventive care as well as the following essential health benefits:
The amount you pay for a bronze plan will depend on the plan you choose and your income. These are the two best ways to save.
A bronze plan can be purchased through healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace, which automatically calculates your health insurance costs based on your income and household size.
There are downsides to a bronze health insurance plan. Although monthly rates are low, high deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums will mean the cost of medical care could be high. That’s why we generally recommend bronze plans for those who are healthy and just need routine medical care.
For example, if a bronze plan’s deductible is $5,000, most of the plan’s cost-sharing benefits won’t apply until you’ve spent $5,000 out-of-pocket on your health care. For many members, this means paying most health care costs out of pocket.
A bronze plan will give you free preventive care and discounts on some health services, but if you expect to need a moderate amount of medical care, consider paying more for a silver plan because of its better benefits.
but these plans also have an important benefit. a bronze plan will provide you with financial protection against very high costs if you have an unexpected medical situation during the policy year. For example, if you need emergency surgery, these affordable health insurance plans would limit your annual costs to a maximum of $8,700 for in-network care. by comparison, those without insurance could face a $100,000 hospital bill for the same medical care.
This makes a bronze plan an affordable way to protect yourself against the high costs of unexpected medical needs and serious injuries.
cheaper silver plans
Monthly costs are an average of 2022 silver plans for a 40-year-old who purchases a full price plan. this average was calculated for eight states using cms data.
A silver level plan is a good affordable health insurance plan because it has better benefits than a bronze plan. silver plans will cost more than bronze, but are worth it for those who expect to need moderate amounts of medical care.
Like bronze plans, those who purchase silver plans may qualify for reduced monthly rates through tax credits. by 2022, about half of applicants will be able to find a silver plan for $10 a month, according to the department of health and human services (hhs). The amount of discount you get from tax credits is based on your income and family size.
Silver plans have another advantage. People with low incomes may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions, which lowers each plan’s coinsurance and deductible. This means you’ll pay less for each doctor’s visit or medical treatment, and you’ll also pay less out of pocket before your full plan benefits start.
Cost-sharing reductions are only available to those who choose a silver health insurance plan and have a household income less than 250% of the federal poverty level.
When comparing bronze and silver plans, keep in mind that the cheapest health insurance policy for you isn’t always the plan with the absolute lowest monthly rate. instead, the most affordable option is the policy that provides the right amount of health insurance coverage, based on your health and medical needs. that’s why a silver plan, with its better benefits, can result in lower overall costs. the extra amount you pay for a plan may be offset by savings on health care.
As you can see in the table below, a silver plan will generally have a much lower deductible than a bronze plan. this means full plan benefits will start sooner.
When deciding which plan is right for you, consider where the tipping point is between the cost of a bronze plan versus a silver plan. For example, if a silver plan costs $100 more per month, it would have to save you $1,200 per year on health care to make it worth it.
medicaid: cheaper for people with low income
For low-income households, Medicaid will be the cheapest health insurance plan that offers good benefits that are free or low cost.
Medicaid eligibility is based on how much you earn and the size of your household, as well as factors such as disability and family status.
To be eligible for the insurance program, your household income must be less than 133% or 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The level of eligibility depends on the state you live in, as some states have passed laws to expand their Medicaid programs to more low-income adults.
Although the income threshold will vary by state, those who live in 36 states with expanded Medicaid may qualify for coverage with income less than $18,754 as an individual or less than $38,295 as a family of four. The income threshold will be higher in Alaska and Hawaii, which have higher FPL amounts. States that have not expanded their Medicaid programs will have lower income limits for those who may qualify for Medicaid.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is another related government health insurance program that can provide coverage for children and sometimes pregnant women. chip is aimed at low-income families who earn too much to qualify for medicaid.
cheapest short-term health insurance
monthly costs of the three cheapest providers, among our recommendations of the best short-term insurers. Rates are based on quotes for a 40-year-old non-smoker in Phoenix.
Short-term health insurance is often more affordable than a full-price health insurance plan on the market. these plans are best in situations where you need a temporary health insurance solution.
for example, if there is a waiting period before your marketplace plan or employer health insurance starts, a short-term health insurance plan is one way to have coverage during the transition.
Coverage may last only a few months, up to a maximum of a year, depending on your state’s short-term health insurance laws. and the plans don’t cover the same essential health benefits that you would get with a bronze or silver plan. this could mean a plan may not cover pre-existing conditions, maternity care, or prescription drugs.
When choosing a short-term insurance plan, take a careful look at the plan’s benefits and any restrictions. Because these plans are not regulated in the same way as traditional health insurance, they will typically have a greater variation in coverage.