The government’s public health programs — either Medicaid or Medicare — are designed for the elderly, those with disabilities or low-income individuals. If you don’t fall in those profiles, you have to purchase private plans through your employer or individually through the Alabama insurance exchange. The cost of health plans in Alabama varies, but the less it costs monthly, the more you pay out of pocket when you need medical care. Plans with lower premiums have higher out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles.
MoneyGeek analyzed plans you can purchase through the Alabama insurance marketplace. We identified the cheapest options for a wide range of ages and plan types to help you find the appropriate coverage for you.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama by Metal Tier
Health insurance plans in Alabama for individuals follow a metal tier system. Although tiers do not affect the quality of care you receive, they determine how you and your insurance provider divide medical costs. Choosing a lower metal tier allows for more affordable monthly premiums but comes with less coverage when you get medical care.
There are five levels available for health plans in Alabama — Catastrophic, Expanded Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Tiers named after more valuable metals, such as gold or platinum, charge a higher monthly premium but cover a larger percentage of your medical expenses. The average cost of monthly premiums for different tiers are:
- Catastrophic: $310
- Expanded Bronze: $361
- Silver: $449
- Gold: $547
- Platinum: $466
Although Platinum plans generally have higher monthly premiums than Gold ones, exceptions can happen in specific markets. If you know you require a lot of medical care, getting a Gold or Platinum plan may be cheaper in the long run. These plans cover approximately 80–90% of your medical expenses, so you’ll pay less out of pocket.
Monthly premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums may vary within tiers. The rates shown in the table below are the cheapest health insurance plans in Alabama for each one.
You can be eligible for cost-sharing reductions if you have a low income, making Silver plans more cost-effective since you will have lower deductibles than you would without the cost-sharing feature.
Using a 40-year-old male profile, these rates are for all types of plans for health insurance in Alabama. PPOs are the most common plan type in Alabama, although EPO plans are also available to buyers.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama by Metal Tier
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- Metal TierPlanCompanyMonthly CostOOP Max
- CatastrophicBlue ProtectBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$304$8,550
- Expanded BronzeBlue Saver Bronze for BusinessBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$249$7,750
- SilverBlue HSA Silver for BusinessBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$292$6,000
- GoldBlue Secure Gold for BusinessBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$391$6,750
- PlatinumBlue Choice Platinum for BusinessBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$466$4,000
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama by Age and Metal Tier
Health insurance providers consider several factors when determining premiums, and age is one of them. How old you are when you purchase a policy significantly affects the cost of health insurance in Alabama. For instance, PPO plans in the Silver tier for a 26-year-old in Alabama cost $360 per month on average. A 60-year-old, on the other hand, pays $594 more for a similar plan — the premium increases to $954 per month.
Health Insurance Costs in Alabama by Age and Metal Tier
Monthly premiums for health insurance plans in Alabama increase as you get older. Purchasing a Bronze plan may give you a lower rate, but you‘ll spend more out of pocket since it has a low deductible. You may end up paying more with a Bronze plan if you have plenty of medical expenses than if you got a higher-tier plan with higher premiums.
Older people can get more affordable health insurance in Alabama because of tax premiums and other existing regulations. The rates shown are based purely on sample ages and don’t consider factors unique to you, such as your exact age and income. The best way to get a custom quote is to apply for a plan.
Use the table below to switch between metal tiers and buyer ages. Our guide on Alabama health insurance can give you more details regarding the metal tiers and help you decide which one to purchase.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama by Age And Metal Tier
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- PlanCompanyMonthly Rate
- CatastrophicPPOBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$151
- CatastrophicEPOBright Health$191
- Expanded BronzePPOBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$178
- Expanded BronzePPOBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$198
- Expanded BronzePPOBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama$199
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama by County
Which part of the state you reside in affects the cost of your health insurance in Alabama. Some states have several rating areas, each one having a different premium rate. Alabama’s 67 counties are divided into 13 rating areas.
In Jefferson, the most populous county in Alabama, you can purchase the cheapest Silver plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. The Blue HSA Silver for Business plan costs $303 per month on average.
Find the cheapest Alabama health insurance rate for your county for all metal tiers through the table below.
The plans and premiums shown are for a 40-year-old male residing in Alabama who purchases health insurance in that county.
Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in Alabama by County
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- Metal TierCompanyCheapest PlanMonthly Premium
- CalhounCatastrophicBlue Cross and Blue Shield of AlabamaBlue Protect$293
- LeeCatastrophicBlue Cross and Blue Shield of AlabamaBlue Protect$324
- BibbCatastrophicBlue Cross and Blue Shield of AlabamaBlue Protect$315
- BlountCatastrophicBlue Cross and Blue Shield of AlabamaBlue Protect$315
- ChiltonCatastrophicBlue Cross and Blue Shield of AlabamaBlue Protect$315
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama With High Out-of-Pocket Maxes
Purchasing a low-cost plan with high out-of-pocket maximums means lower premiums, but you’ll have to pay more if you have a medical emergency. These plans may be ideal for younger people who don’t often see a doctor during the year.
MoneyGeek considers a plan with maximum out-of-pocket expenses worth $8,250 or more to be a high out-of-pocket policy. The Blue Protect plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is the cheapest high out-of-pocket plan in Alabama. For a 26-year-old buyer, its premium is $244 per month.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama offers the most affordable health insurance plan with a high out-of-pocket maximum. It is a Catastrophic-tier plan, which is a cheap way to get coverage for worst-case medical scenarios, but you’ll have to pay for most standard medical expenses yourself.
Catastrophic plans aren’t widely available — you have to be under 30 to purchase them. They may also be available for buyers of any age as long as they have exemptions due to hardship or affordability.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Alabama With Low Out-of-Pocket Maximums
If you expect to require a lot of medical care, purchasing health insurance in Alabama with a low out-of-pocket maximum may be a better option. Even if you pay a higher premium per month, paying for visits to the doctor or prescription drugs allows you to reach your out-of-pocket max sooner. Once this happens, your insurance company will begin to cover your medical expenses.
For an average monthly premium of $466, you can purchase cheap health insurance in Alabama with a low out-of-pocket maximum. The Blue Choice Platinum for Business plan is offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama to residents seeking a policy with low out-of-pocket expenses for medical care.
Plans typically need an out-of-pocket maximum below $4,250 to meet the criteria for a low out-of-pocket max. In Alabama, the out-of-pocket max is $4,000.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama offers the cheapest health insurance plan in Alabama with a low out-of-pocket maximum. Being a Platinum plan, its premium is higher than lower metal tiers, such as Expanded Bronze or Silver. That said, having a low out-of-pocket maximum makes it possible for your insurance to start covering your medical expenses sooner.
Cheapest PPO/EPO Health Insurance Plan in Alabama
When deciding which type of health insurance plan you should purchase, it’s best to base it on your preferences and requirements. Most policies for health insurance in Alabama are Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. These tend to be a bit more expensive than HMO plans but also provide a broader network. It’s a good plan if you prefer to have flexibility, such as not needing a referral to see a specialist.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plans are also available in Alabama, though they are not as popular as PPO plans. EPO plans usually have lower premiums but, to ensure your medical services are covered, you’ll have to stay in-network.
Here are the cheapest Silver health insurance plans in Alabama for PPO and EPO policies:
- PPO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama offers Blue HSA Silver for Business at $292 per month for the average 40-year-old male.
- EPO: Bright Health offers Silver 4200 for $623 per month for the average 40-year-old male.
Cheapest Plan in Alabama With an HSA
If you’re in good health and your visits to the doctor are infrequent, you may want to consider opening a Health Savings Account. These plans are affordable but allow you to make pre-tax contributions to build a nest egg. These funds are invested over time and can be used for medical expenses.
In Alabama, Expanded Bronze and Silver plans have HSA options. Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, the cheapest plans for these tiers are:
- Cheapest Expanded Bronze Plan: Blue HSA Bronze by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama costs an average of $399 per month
- Cheapest Silver Plan: Blue HSA Silver for Business by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama costs an average of $292 per month
These plans have high deductibles, so you will need to take the risk of potentially high out-of-pocket expenses in a medical emergency.
What to Know About Health Insurance in Alabama
MoneyGeek used data on private plans from state marketplaces. You may find lower rates when you apply for a quote through the Alabama Insurance Marketplace. Those who are elderly or have low income may find themselves qualified for government health insurance programs such as Medicaid or Medicare, which are more affordable than plans in the Marketplace.
Private Health Insurance on the Alabama Marketplace
Private health insurance plans in Alabama are categorized using metal tiers. All tiers comply with federal health insurance requirements but have unique advantages and disadvantages.
Here’s an overview of each of the five tiers available in Alabama.
Catastrophic — These plans have the lowest possible premium but have very high deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Although they protect you from unforeseen situations, like getting severely sick or injured, routine medical expenses aren’t covered. You have to be under 30 or have exemptions due to affordability or hardship to be eligible for this type of plan.
Expanded Bronze — If you don’t qualify for Catastrophic plans for one reason or another, Expanded Bronze plans are your next cheapest option in Alabama. Their premiums are slightly higher than Catastrophic plans but are lower than other metal tiers. For Expanded Bronze plans, insurance providers cover around 65% of your medical expenses.
Silver – Based on premium prices, these fall midway between Catastrophic and Platinum plans, though their deductibles are lower than Extended Bronze plans. It’s ideal to purchase a Silver plan if you qualify for “extra savings,” as these can amount to thousands of dollars per year.
Gold – Considered one of the high metal tiers, buyers who get Gold plans will have around 80% of their medical expenses covered by their insurance provider once their coverage kicks in. The trade-off is the premium. Gold plans cost more per month than Expanded Bronze and Silver policies.
Platinum – This is the highest among all metal tiers and has the most expensive premium. However, if you require frequent medical care, getting a Platinum plan can work in your favor. Since their deductibles are low, your insurance provider begins covering medical expenses sooner than plans in other tiers.
Aside from the list of plans from MoneyGeek’s study, there may be cheaper health insurance options for you in Alabama, depending on your income level. Using the federal poverty level as a baseline, individuals whose income falls between 100% to 400% of the baseline may be eligible for premium tax credits. It applies to a two-person household in Alabama with an annual income ranging from $17,420 to $69,680. To find out more, you can use the HealthCare.gov calculator.
Open enrollment refers to the period each year when you can renew your existing health insurance plan in Alabama or enroll in a new one. The annual enrollment period usually falls between November and December, but currently, you can do so until August due to the global pandemic.
Purchasing a health insurance plan in Alabama in the Silver tier allows you to get cost-sharing reductions if your income is between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty level. In Alabama, this is a two-person household earning between $24,040 and $43,550 annually. You can even get Gold plan coverage for Silver plan costs if you qualify for these deductions as they decrease your deductibles, out-of-pocket maxes and copayments or coinsurance.
Medicaid in Alabama
Medicaid is a government health insurance program. If you are eligible for Medicaid, it is the cheapest option as you are not required to pay for any premium. Alabama, however, has not adopted Medicaid expansion, which means you cannot be qualified based on income alone. Eligibility is based on state guidelines and is generally reserved for people with disabilities, pregnant women and very low-income families.
Medicare in Alabama
If you are 65 or older, have qualifying disabilities or have ESRD (end-stage renal disease), Medicare is a possible option for health insurance. It is not completely free like Medicaid, but it is still considerably more affordable than private plans.
Medicare insurance has three parts, each of which covers specific services. These are:
- Part A (Hospital Insurance) — This portion covers inpatient stays and care in a skilled nursing facility or a hospice. It also covers some home care services.
- Part B (Medical Insurance) — Part B covers outpatient care, doctors’ professional fees, preventive services and medical supplies.
- Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) — Part D includes recommended shots and vaccines.
MoneyGeek's research is based on estimates, and the cheapest plan for you will depend on your individual needs and characteristics. This analysis is intended to serve as a guide and no single plan is guaranteed to be the cheapest in Alabama for you
MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in Alabama from the Health Insurance Exchange Public Use Files (Exchange PUFs) for all available metal tiers and across several age groups.
Health insurance premiums on this page are an estimate and exclude potential premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies that users may be eligible for.
About MoneyGeek Team
- Benefits.gov. "Medicaid Program." Accessed June 12, 2021.
- Healthcare.gov. "Open Enrollment Period." Accessed June 12, 2021.
- Healthcare.gov. "Understanding Marketplace Health Insurance Categories." Accessed June 12, 2021.
- Medicare.gov. "What’s Medicare?." Accessed June 12, 2021.