Cheap health insurance in Maryland can be purchased through the state health insurance exchange or acquired if you qualify for the federally funded Medicaid program. After comparing quotes in the state, we found that the KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental, offered by Kaiser Permanente, was the cheapest Silver policy in the largest counties of Maryland. In the state, there are currently only two health insurance providers: CareFirst and Kaiser Permanente.
- Cheapest Health Insurance Coverage by Metal Tier
- Short-Term Health Insurance in Maryland
- Health Insurance Companies in Maryland
- Cheapest Silver Plan By County
Cheapest Health Insurance by Metal Tier
We compared health insurance plans from the Maryland Health Connection marketplace to identify the lowest-cost options for residents. If you do not currently receive employer-sponsored or federally funded health insurance, then you can purchase health coverage through the state marketplace. For example, if you are currently self-employed, then you can purchase a policy through the state exchange.
The table below shows the cheapest individual health insurance plans with each metal tier along with the plan deductible, out-of-pocket maximum and monthly premium for a 40-year-old. This information should be used as a starting point to figure out which metal tier fits your coverage needs and budget.
|Metal tier||Cheapest plan||Deductible||Out-of-pocket maximum||Monthly premium for a 40-year-old|
|Catastrophic||BlueChoice HMO Young Adult $7,900||$7,900||$7,900||$152.10|
|Bronze||KP MD Bronze 6200/20%/HSA||$6,200||$6,550||$298.48|
|Silver||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$6,000||$7,900||$404.17|
|Gold||KP MD Gold 1500/20/Dental||$1,500||$6,850||$408.05|
|Platinum||KP MD Platinum 0/5 Dental||$0||$4,000||$477.36|
Sample rates are from the largest 10 counties in Maryland.
As you can see, Maryland offers five different metal tiers for coverage: Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The lower tiers (Catastrophic and Bronze) tend to have the highest deductibles but the lowest monthly premium, making them the most affordable options if you are healthy and expect to have few health care expenses. On the other hand, higher metal tiers (Gold and Platinum) have much more expensive premiums but lower out-of-pocket expenses. For example, the cheapest Gold metal policy in Maryland is 37% more expensive than the best-priced Bronze plan.
When an insurer offers you a quote for health insurance, one of the main determinants of the price will be your age. The graph below illustrates the average monthly cost for health insurance depending on your age and the metal tier of coverage. For example, for a Silver policy, a 40-year-old would pay $489, which is 28% more than the premium for a 21-year-old on the same policy. The jump in monthly cost is even larger as you get older, with 60-year-olds paying, on average, 112% more for a Silver health plan.
Finding the Best Health Insurance Coverage in Maryland
The best health insurance coverage for you will depend on the availability of policies in your area as well as your medical and financial situation. Maryland has expanded Medicaid, which means households with income less than 138% of the poverty level can enroll in this federal health insurance program.
When searching for the most affordable health insurance, you should first check the premiums and out-of-pocket expenses to decide what is best for your situation. Typically, if you expect moderate to high medical expenses, then you should select a higher metal tier that has more expensive premiums but lower deductibles.
Gold and Platinum: Best if You Have High Medical Costs
Gold and Platinum are the highest tiers offered in Maryland. These plans have high premiums but lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, which can be the most cost-effective for people with high medical bills. You’ll reach the deductible more quickly and begin paying coinsurance through your insurer. For example, say you require expensive monthly prescriptions; in this case, an upper metal tier plan would likely be the best choice.
Silver: Best if You Have Lower Income or Average Medical Costs
The best plan for you depends on your medical needs and budget. We would recommend Silver plans in most situations, as they have modest premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. If you are very healthy, then a lower-tier plan, such as Bronze, may be a better option. But if you expect to have high medical costs, then a Gold plan may be the best plan for you.
All health plans except Catastrophic offer premium tax credits, but Silver plans are eligible for cost-sharing reductions if your income falls below 200% of the federal poverty level. This benefit provides discounts on the amount that you are required to pay in deductibles, copays and coinsurance and can make a Silver health insurance policy the most cost-effective if you qualify.
Bronze and Catastrophic: Best if You Are Young and Healthy
The cheapest policies offered in Maryland are Bronze and Catastrophic. Although these health insurance plans have the most affordable premiums, they have higher deductibles, which means you will need to spend more out-of-pocket before your provider pays for coinsurance.
Bronze metal tier plans are available for applicants of any age, but Catastrophic plans are only available to people who are younger than 30 or qualify for an exemption.
Short-Term Health Insurance in Maryland
In Maryland, you can purchase short-term health insurance plans through private health providers outside of the state marketplace. The state puts additional restrictions on short-term policies, such as three-month coverage lengths and regulated renewals.
You may want to consider short-term health insurance if you missed open enrollment or lost employer-sponsored coverage. However, it is important to note that short-term policies do not cover the essential benefits like Obamacare marketplace plans do.
Health Insurance Companies in Maryland
There are currently two health insurance companies that sell policies in Maryland:
- Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente offered the cheapest Silver health plan in each of the largest counties in Maryland. However, the availability of plans and providers will depend on the county in which you live. Therefore, it is important to recognize that the cheapest plan in your area will differ from the most affordable in a different county.
Cheapest Health Insurance Plan by County
Depending on where you live, the pricing of similar plans will vary. However, in the largest 10 counties of Maryland, the KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental, the cheapest Silver health insurance policy, has identical pricing.
|County||Cheapest plan||Premium adult, age 21||Premium adult, age 40||Premium adult, age 60|
|Montgomery||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Prince George’s||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Baltimore||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Baltimore City||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Anne Arundel||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Howard||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Harford||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Frederick||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Carroll||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|
|Charles||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$316.25||$404.17||$858.30|