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Kaiser Permanente is the most affordable health insurance if you’re shopping for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace. We evaluated health insurance plans available on the Marketplace based on cost, coverage options, NCQA quality rating and consumer complaints.

Best affordable health insurance companies

Why trust our health insurance experts

Our team of insurance experts evaluates hundreds of insurance products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 129 health insurance companies analyzed.
  • 864 health insurance plan rates reviewed.
  • 5 levels of fact-checking.

Top-rated cheap health insurance companies

Compare the best cheap health insurance companies

HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANYOUR RATINGAVERAGE MONTHLY COST OF BRONZE PLANSLEARN MORE
$797

Via Healthcare.com’s website

HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY
OUR RATING
AVERAGE MONTHLY COST OF BRONZE PLANS$797
LEARN MORE

Via Healthcare.com’s website

$878

Via Healthcare.com’s website

HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY
OUR RATING
AVERAGE MONTHLY COST OF BRONZE PLANS$878
LEARN MORE

Via Healthcare.com’s website

$985

Via Healthcare.com’s website

HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY
OUR RATING
AVERAGE MONTHLY COST OF BRONZE PLANS$985
LEARN MORE

Via Healthcare.com’s website

Methodology

We analyzed the average rates of bronze health insurance plans offered by the best health insurance companies nationwide. The companies with the cheapest average cost for bronze plans made our list of the most affordable health insurance companies.

To first determine the best health insurance companies, we compared providers that sell individual health insurance plans on the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace. Each health insurance company was eligible for up to 100 points, based on its performance in the following key categories:

  • Cost: 30 points. The health insurance companies with the lowest average monthly premiums and deductibles for silver-tier health insurance plans received the highest score.
  • Consumer complaints: 25 points. Health insurance companies with the lowest levels of complaints received the highest score. We collected complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which shows the volume of health insurance consumer complaints against each company.
  • NCQA quality rating: 25 points. Health insurance companies with the highest quality ratings received the highest score. We collected data from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits health plans and produces ratings based on specific metrics.
  • Variety of health insurance plans: 10 points. Health insurance companies with the greatest variety of health insurance plans (HMO, EPO, PPO) received the highest score.
  • Metal tier offerings: 10 points. Health insurance companies with the most options of metal tier plans received the highest score.


If you’d like to dig in deeper, head over to our health insurance ratings methodology page.

How to get affordable health insurance

The best way to get the cheapest health insurance is through your workplace. Many employers offer group health insurance to their employees and families. Group health insurance is cheaper than getting individual health insurance, and most employers pay a portion of the health insurance premium, making your cost more affordable.

If you can’t get coverage through your workplace, the Health Insurance Marketplace may offer low-cost health insurance. There are usually several Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant health plans in your area, and the site can help you choose one.

You might be eligible for even cheaper health insurance through Marketplace subsidies if your household income is at or lower than 400% of the federal poverty level for your household size.

Medicaid may be another option if you have a low income. This health insurance program can offer you comprehensive health insurance coverage at little or no cost.

Another option is to go directly to a health insurance company. Plans may not be ACA-compliant, however. It’s worth reviewing and comparing each plan’s summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) to determine which will best fit your needs.

How much does health insurance cost?

A bronze health insurance plan — the category with the cheapest premiums on the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace — costs an average of:

  • $428 per month for a 21-year-old.
  • $488 per month for a 30-year-old.
  • $549 per month for a 40-year-old.
  • $767 per month for a 50-year-old.
  • $1,164 per month for a 60-year-old.

Factors that impact the cost of health insurance

The cost of health insurance available on the Health Insurance Marketplace will vary based on several factors, including:

  • The health insurance company.
  • The health insurance plan category (e.g. bronze, silver, gold).
  • The type of health plan (e.g., EPO, HMO, PPO).
  • Your age and the ages of your dependents.
  • Your out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and coinsurance.

Expert tip: The more the health insurance company covers, the more you’ll pay in health insurance premiums. You could save on your premium if you choose a higher health insurance deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. Just be prepared to pay more out of pocket for your health care in exchange for that lower premium.

Average cost by health insurance plan category

While bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums, they also have the highest costs when you need care. So if you’re looking to save on expenses overall, you may want to consider a silver plan. Silver plans have a moderate premium and moderate out-of-pocket costs.

HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN CATEGORY HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS YOU PAY AVERAGE COST OF MONTHLY PREMIUM
Bronze
60%
40%
$373
Silver
70%
30%
$488
Gold
80%
20%
$634
Platinum
90%
10%
$664

Average costs for a 30-year-old. Source: HealthCare.gov. Based on unsubsidized ACA plans.

Average cost of health insurance by age 

Age plays a large role in the cost of health insurance on the ACA Marketplace. 

Member profileHealth insurance monthly cost
Child age 0-14$300
Child age 18$354
Adult age 21$397
Adult age 27$419
Adult age 30$453
Adult age 40$509
Adult age 50$712
Adult age 60$1,079
Couple age 21$793
Couple age 30$906
Couple age 40$1,018
Couple age 50$1,424
Couple age 60$2,159
Couple age 21 + 1 child$1,094
Couple age 30 + 1 child$1,206
Couple age 40 + 1 child$1,318
Couple age 50 + 1 child$1,724
Couple age 21 + 2 children$1,394
Couple age 30 + 2 children$1,506
Couple age 40 + 2 children$1,619
Couple age 50 + 2 children$2,508
Couple age 21 + 3 or more children$1,695
Couple age 30 + 3 or more children$1,807
Couple age 40 + 3 or more children$1,919
Couple age 50 + 3 or more children$2,325
Adult age 21 + 1 child$697
Adult age 30 + 1 child$753
Adult age 40 + 1 child$809
Adult age 50 + 1 child$1,012
Adult age 21 + 2 children$998
Adult age 30 + 2 children$1,054
Adult age 40 + 2 children$1,110
Adult age 50 + 2 children$1,313
Adult age 21 + 3 or more children$1,298
Adult age 30 + 3 or more children$1,354
Adult age 40 + 3 or more children$1,410
Adult age 50 + 3 or more children$1,613

Average monthly cost based on unsubsidized ACA plans. Source: Healthcare.gov.

How to find the best affordable health insurance for your needs

Comparing health insurance quotes can be overwhelming, but these tips can help you find the best cheap health insurance plan for you.

  • Consider your health care needs. If you don’t anticipate going to the doctor much, you could save by choosing an HDHP. But a gold or platinum plan may be worth it if you have chronic health conditions or expect to see the doctor regularly.
  • Which plan type is best? An exclusive provider organization (EPO) plan only covers in-network care, unless it’s an emergency. A health management organization (HMO) plan will cover out-of-network care, but only for urgent or emergency care. A preferred provider organization (PPO) plan will cover out-of-network care without a referral for an additional cost.
  • Check for pharmacy benefits. A formulary, or drug list, is a list of prescription drugs your insurance will cover and what category and cost a particular drug falls under. Todd Ackerman, president of World Insurance Associates, advises considering, “With prescription drug costs rising like they are, what are your prescription costs, and where do your prescriptions fall in the formulary on the plan you're moving to?”
  • Ask your healthcare providers what insurance plans they accept. Before you buy a health plan, call your doctor to make sure they take the specific plan. The health insurance company's online directory could be out-of-date or not accurate.
  • Verify the health plan cost. The cost isn’t just the premium. You should also consider the coinsurance, copay, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.
  • Are there other options? You might be able to get health insurance through your employer or get added to your spouse’s or parent’s plan. These options may be cheaper than getting an individual health insurance plan.

What to consider when shopping for affordable health insurance

If you’re shopping for cheap health insurance, there are multiple things to consider, including the plan type, tax credits and coverage choices. We break down the most important factors to consider when comparing quotes to find cheap medical insurance.

Bronze plans 

Of all the metal tiers, bronze plans have the lowest premiums, though you’ll pay the most for your health care costs. With a typical bronze plan, the insurance company pays 60% of covered expenses, while you pay 40%. Expect deductibles for bronze plans to be thousands of dollars per year.

A bronze plan is best for someone who wants health insurance coverage for severe injuries or illnesses but can afford to pay for some preventive and routine care out of pocket. All ACA-compliant health plans provide preventive care services free of cost-sharing, even before meeting the deductible, including screenings and counseling, routine immunizations, preventive services specifically for women and preventive services for children and youth.

Silver plans

Health insurance companies usually pay around 70% of health care costs on a silver plan, while you pay 30%. This metal plan offers lower deductibles than bronze plans but has higher monthly premium costs. Still, silver plan deductibles can still be in the thousands.

“If you qualify for a subsidy and reduced cost-sharing, silver plans may be the most affordable option for you,” said Evan Tunis, president of Florida Healthcare Insurance.

If you don’t qualify for a subsidy but are willing to pay a slightly higher premium to cover more routine care, consider a silver plan.

Gold plans

A gold plan might be worth the cost if you go to the doctor regularly or have high health care costs. Although it has higher premiums than bronze and silver plans, your deductible is lower and the insurance company pays about 80% of your cost of care.

Platinum plans 

The metal tier plan with the highest cost is the platinum plan, but it comes with the lowest deductible. The health insurance company generally pays around 90% of your covered expenses, so nearly all your health care costs will be covered.

Tax credits for affordable health insurance 

Some people qualify for a premium tax credit, which can unlock cheap medical insurance. When you apply for health insurance on the health exchange, you’ll enter your estimated income on the application. You could receive a tax credit depending on your income and household size. You can find out if your estimated income qualifies for a subsidy on the .

“If your income or household makeup changes during the year, you’ll want to update your application to see if it affects your credit,” said Tunis.

Gaining a household member or losing an income could increase your credit. Losing a household member or increasing your income could lower it. Taking more of a tax credit than you’re eligible for could mean you have to pay some of it back when filing your federal tax return.

HSA vs. FSA 

HSAs and FSAs are two tax-advantaged savings vehicles you can use to pay for health care expenses.

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is available if you buy a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a minimum deductible of $1,600 for an individual or $3,200 for a family plan.

If you’re considering an HSA, check to see if the Marketplace plan has an “HSA eligible” label.

You can make pre-tax contributions and use the funds to pay for qualified medical expenses and costs to meet your deductible.

The HSA also accrues interest, and the entire balance rolls over yearly. You can keep the HSA no matter your employment status, and it acts like a retirement account once you turn 65.

Before age 65, non-medical HSA expenses will be subject to income tax and a 20% penalty. Once you turn 65, however, taxable non-medical expenses will no longer be subject to a penalty, and you can continue to use your account tax-free for qualified medical expenses.

A Flexible Savings Account (FSA) is sometimes offered as an employee benefit with an employer-sponsored group health insurance plan. An FSA allows employees to set aside a predetermined amount of money pre-tax for health care expenses and eligible dependent care.

Unlike the HSA, the FSA is generally a use-it-or-lose-it plan, meaning amounts in the account at the end of the plan year won’t carry over to the next year. However, some FSA plans allow a grace period of up to two and a half months, or a rollover of up to $610 to be used for qualifying medical expenses for the following year.

Out-of-network coverage 

Going “out of network” means seeing a health provider not contracted with your health insurance company or plan. If you go out of network to see a doctor, you’ll usually pay a higher coinsurance amount — the percentage you pay for covered services after you’ve met your deductible — than you would to see an in-network doctor.

“Knowing your out-of-network coverage can help you save money in the long run, especially for those who travel frequently or live near a state border,” said Tunis.

Out-of-network coverage can vary depending on the type of health insurance plan you buy. For example, if you have a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, your insurance might not cover out-of-network care unless it’s an emergency.

If you like your doctor or specialist and want to keep going to them, make sure they’re in network for the health insurance plan you’re considering.

Out-of-pocket maximum 

Your out-of-pocket maximum is the most you’ll pay toward covered health care for your plan year. Once you’ve paid your deductibles, coinsurance and copayments and have met your annual out-of-pocket limit, your plan will pay 100% for covered expenses.

The following expenses do not go towards your out-of-pocket maximum:

  • Health insurance premiums.
  • Out-of-network expenses.
  • Costs your provider charges above the allowed amount.
  • Cost of services not covered.

The 2024 out-of-pocket limit varies for Marketplace plans but cannot exceed $9,450 for individuals and $18,900 for family coverage.

Best and most affordable health insurance FAQs

According to our analysis, Kaiser Permanente has the best cheap health insurance. However, it is only available to members in eight states and Washington, D.C. The next best options are Aetna and UnitedHealthcare.

The cheapest health insurance for you may vary because the age of all household members and income factor into health insurance costs. Bronze and catastrophic plans offer the least coverage but have cheaper rates. Choosing a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) can also make health insurance more affordable.

The least expensive way to get the best health insurance depends on your income level.

  • If you qualify for Medicaid or Marketplace subsidies, you could pay little to no cost for health insurance.
  • If you don’t, a catastrophic or high-deductible health plan (HDHP) can be less expensive than other Marketplace plans.

The more health care costs an insurer pays, the more you’ll pay in health insurance premiums.

Medicaid is a government-based health insurance program for low-income people and is usually the least expensive. With a low income, you may not have any premium costs with Medicaid and minimal cost-sharing.

Qualifying for a subsidy through the Health Insurance Marketplace can lower your health insurance premium and cost-sharing, sometimes down to $0.

Short-term health insurance plans, employer-based health insurance or catastrophic plans may be the cheapest options if you don’t qualify for Medicaid or subsidies.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Mandy Sleight

BLUEPRINT

Mandy is an insurance writer who has been creating online content since 2018. Before becoming a full-time freelance writer, Mandy spent 15 years working as an insurance agent. Her work has been published in Bankrate, MoneyGeek, The Insurance Bulletin, 91Ӱ News and more.

Heidi Gollub

BLUEPRINT

Heidi Gollub is the 91Ӱ Blueprint managing editor of insurance. She was previously lead editor of insurance at Forbes Advisor and led the insurance team at 91Ӱ News & World Report as assistant managing editor of 360 Reviews. Heidi has an MBA from Emporia State University and is a licensed property and casualty insurance expert.