The Cheapest Maryland Health Insurance for Individuals and Families

Finding the right health insurance in Maryland is a careful balance between how much coverage you’ll need versus how much you can pay monthly. There are four tiers of insurance plans in Maryland — Bronze, Silver and Gold and Platinum. Silver plans offer the best balance between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, with an average monthly premium of $380 for a 40-year-old. Kaiser Permanente offers the cheapest Silver option — their KP MD Silver 3200/20%/HSA/Vision plan — for $339 per month.

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Last Updated: 8/20/2021
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Private plans are available on the Maryland Marketplace for those not offered insurance through their job and don’t qualify for Medicare/Medicaid. There are many low-cost plans, but it’s important to consider the risks of paying lower monthly premiums. Plans with lower monthly premiums tend to have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, which can cost more in the long run if you end up needing higher coverage.

Finding the right plan for your individual needs can be difficult. Fortunately, MoneyGeek has done the heavy lifting and compiled a well-researched list of cheap health insurance in the Maryland Marketplace for multiple age groups.

The Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by Metal Tier

The insurance plans are broken down into a metal tier system to make it easier to find and compare plans with similar monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. The four plans in Maryland — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum — offer different trade-offs between their monthly costs and the amount of coverage available.

The average premiums for each tier in Maryland are:

  • Bronze: $266
  • Silver: $380
  • Gold: $361
  • Platinum: $397

Some lower-tier plans may have higher monthly premiums than expected, such as the Silver tier above. This is often the result of marketplace trends in the area.

When choosing the right plan, consider how many medical costs you anticipate having throughout the year. If you anticipate higher coverage needs for a chronic illness, expected birth or surgery, or any other reason, a higher tier plan with higher monthly premiums but lower out-of-pocket maximums may save you money in the long run. If you’re relatively healthy, a lower-tier plan with smaller monthly premiums may ultimately save you more.

In the Maryland Marketplace, each aspect of insurance — monthly premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes — can be quite different for each tier and may vary significantly within the same tier. The table below reflects the cheapest plan according to the monthly premiums of each metal tier.

Those with lower incomes may be able to take advantage of cost-sharing reductions (CSR), which can lower the deductibles for Silver plans and, in some cases, make them as affordable as bronze coverage.

The table above shows the average premiums for a 40-year-old male for each type of plan available in Maryland, namely HMO — the most popular — and PPO types.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by Metal Tier

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  • Metal Tier
    Plan
    Company
    Monthly Cost
    OOP Max
  • Bronze
    BlueChoice HMO Bronze $8,250
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    $222
    $8,250
  • Silver
    KP MD Silver 3200/20%/HSA/Vision
    Kaiser Permanente
    $339
    $6,650
  • Gold
    BlueChoice HMO Gold $1,750
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    $328
    $6,650
  • Platinum
    KP MD Platinum 0/15/Vision
    Kaiser Permanente
    $397
    $4,000

The Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by Age and Metal Tier

The cost of health insurance in Maryland varies for different age groups, trending higher as you age. For example, in the Maryland marketplace, the average monthly price of a Silver plan is only $305 for a 26-year-old, while those at age 60 pay $807.

Health Insurance Costs in Maryland by Age and Metal Tier

This example only shows averages based on age, so keep in mind that your income can also impact your premiums. With Maryland Marketplace regulations and tax premiums accounted for, your costs may be lower. The only way to know what your premiums will be is to apply for a plan.

For more in-depth information on choosing between the metal tiers and finding out how to get health insurance in Maryland, our guide is very beneficial. Toggle the table below to see how the costs differ with different metal tiers and ages.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by Age And Metal Tier

Sort by Metal Tier:

Silver

Sort by Age:

40 years

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  • Plan
    Company
    Monthly Rate
  • Bronze
    HMO
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    $158
  • Bronze
    HMO
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    $163
  • Bronze
    HMO
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    $165
  • Bronze
    HMO
    United Healthcare
    $177
  • Bronze
    HMO
    United Healthcare
    $177
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by County

Many states, including Maryland, vary insurance prices depending on where you live. Maryland’s 24 counties are split into four different rating areas. Premiums take into account the rating area where you live. Each rating area contains multiple counties that calculate their premiums the same way.

Montgomery County is the most populous county in the state and falls within rating area three. The cheapest average Silver plan in that area is the KP MD Silver 3200/20%/HSA/Vision from Kaiser Permanente, which costs $339 monthly.

The table below can help you find the cheapest plan in your county in Maryland for each metal tier.

These averages are based on a 40-year-old male in Maryland purchasing a health plan in that county.

Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in Maryland by County

Sort by county:

Allegany County

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  • Metal Tier
    Company
    Cheapest Plan
    Monthly Premium
  • Baltimore City
    Bronze
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    BlueChoice HMO Bronze $8,250
    $222
  • Baltimore County
    Bronze
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    BlueChoice HMO Bronze $8,250
    $222
  • Harford County
    Bronze
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    BlueChoice HMO Bronze $8,250
    $222
  • Howard County
    Bronze
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    BlueChoice HMO Bronze $8,250
    $222
  • Anne Arundel County
    Bronze
    CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS
    BlueChoice HMO Bronze $8,250
    $222

The Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland With High Out-of-Pocket Maxes

For younger insurance-seekers in Maryland, a plan with a lower monthly cost and higher out-of-pocket max may result in the best deal. Monthly premiums would be smaller, but there is a risk that you’ll pay more if you have a medical emergency or require frequent doctor’s visits throughout the year, so this is most beneficial to those with relatively good health and few anticipated coverage needs.

For a 26-year-old, the cheapest plan with a high out-of-pocket expense is the BlueChoice HMO Value Bronze $6,000 from CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS, with a monthly premium of $183. MoneyGeek considers high out-of-pocket expense plans as those with maximum out-of-pocket expenses of $8,250 or greater.

CareFirst BlueChoice

CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS offers the most affordable monthly premium health insurance in Maryland for an individual. Their Bronze-tier plan has the lowest monthly cost for a high out-of-pocket expense plan.

The Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland With Low Out-of-Pocket Maximums

If you anticipate having higher medical costs than the average person in Maryland, you may want to consider a plan with a higher monthly premium but a lower out-of-pocket maximum. While you may pay more each month than your peers, you could save money in the long run if you have frequent doctor visits, expensive prescriptions or know that you’ll reach the out-of-pocket max before the end of the year. Once that is met, the insurance company covers the majority of your healthcare costs.

The BluePreferred PPO HSA Silver $3,000 VisionPlus plan offered by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield - PPO is the cheapest plan with a lower out-of-pocket maximum in Maryland, costing $571 per month for the average 40-year-old policyholder.

MoneyGeek considers low out-of-pocket expense plans as those with a max out-of-pocket of $4250 or lower. While the monthly premium for this plan is much higher than a Bronze-tier plan, its out-of-pocket max is only $3,000.

CareFirst BlueChoice

When it comes to the best health insurance in Maryland, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield - PPO offers the most affordable low-deductible insurance in the Marketplace. This Silver-tier plan has higher monthly premiums than Bronze plans but a much lower out-of-pocket max.

Cheapest HMO/PPO Health Insurance Plan in Maryland

Insurance needs differ for everyone, so the healthcare plan type that works best will depend on your personal requirements and preferences.

In Maryland, Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans are the most common type of healthcare plan available. These are typically cheaper plans with lower monthly premiums and easy access to in-network providers; however, these plans require a referral to see a specialist and require you to stay in-network to receive coverage.

Preferred provider organization (PPO) plans are also available in Maryland. These are typically pricier plans but afford more flexibility in provider options, and you don’t require a referral to see a specialist.

The cheapest Silver-tier insurance options for a 40-year-old in Maryland for each plan type are:

  • HMO - KP MD Silver 3200/20%/HSA/Vision by Kaiser Permanente costs an average of $339 per month.
  • PPO - BluePreferred PPO HSA Silver $3,000 VisionPlus by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield - PPO costs an average of $571 per month.

Cheapest Plan in Maryland With an HSA

A Health Savings Account (HSA) plan may also be an option worth considering for those in Maryland with relatively good health and low anticipated medical coverage needs. These are cheaper plans that allow you to contribute your own money — pulled out before taxes — to cover health expenses or save if you don’t end up needing to use it.

There is currently no Gold-tier plan with an HSA option in Maryland, but the cheapest HSA-available plans for the Bronze and Silver tier for a 40-year-old are:

  • Bronze: BlueChoice HMO HSA Bronze $6,150 by CareFirst BlueChoice - HMO/POS costs an average of $231 per month.
  • Silver: KP MD Silver 3200/20%/HSA/Vision by Kaiser Permanente costs an average of $339 per month.

One thing to consider with HSA plans is that because they allow you to take out money pre-tax to cover expenses, they tend to have higher deductibles. If you have high medical costs, you may end up paying for them out of pocket if you don’t have enough built up in your HSA.

What to Know About Health Insurance in Maryland

Be aware that all rates in MoneyGeek’s analysis are gathered from private plan data in Maryland, so you may find cheaper plans when applying on the Marketplace. Lower-income residents of Maryland may qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, which are typically cheaper than Marketplace plans.

Private Health Insurance on the Maryland Marketplace

The private health insurance plans in the Maryland Marketplace are broken down into four tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Bronze plans have a trade-off of lower monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket maximums. Higher-tier plans, like Gold and Platinum, have more expensive monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket maximums.

All metal-tier plans are viable options depending on your needs, and each has its pros and cons:

  • Bronze: Bronze plans offer the most affordable pricing for people with relatively good health and low healthcare coverage expenses throughout the year. If you rarely need to visit the doctor and you’re just looking for coverage in case of an emergency, these plans have low monthly premiums while still keeping you covered. However, these plans do have higher out-of-pocket expenses, which may lead to higher costs overall if higher unexpected medical expenses are incurred.
  • Silver: Silver plans are a compromise between Bronze and Gold plans and are good for those who may need a little extra coverage beyond Bronze plans throughout the year. Silver plans have lower monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket expenses than Gold plans, and higher monthly premiums with lower out-of-pocket expenses than Bronze plans.
  • Gold: Gold plans are more beneficial for those anticipating needing major medical coverage throughout the year. While the monthly premiums are much higher than the other tiered plans, they have significantly lower out-of-pocket maxes which can lead to lower overall costs if higher medical expenses are incurred.
  • Platinum: These plans have the highest monthly premiums of any tier but also cover the most medical expenses. Platinum-tier coverage is best suited to people with extensive medical expenses who tend to use a lot of health care.

The averages reported from MoneyGeek’s study don’t take into account income level, so you may be able to find cheaper plans or higher coverage based on how much you make.

Premium tax credits may be available for those between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. A two-person household in Maryland making between $17,420 and $69,680 may qualify for these credits. Check the calculator on healthcare.gov for more information.

You can enroll in a new healthcare plan during open enrollment, which is typically between November and December each year, though enrollment dates may be expanded due to COVID-19. Events such as moving or a change in employment also qualify you for enrollment outside of the open enrollment period.

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Those with a two-person household income between $24,040 and $43,550 — or between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty level — may qualify for cost-sharing reductions on a Silver plan. These reductions could help you get Gold-level coverage at Silver-level costs with lower deductibles, copayments or coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums.

Medicaid in Maryland

If you’re in need of low-income health insurance in Maryland, you may be able to get coverage for free if you qualify for Medicaid. Maryland is a Medicaid expansion state, so qualification is based solely on income. If your income is below 138% of the federal poverty level, you qualify for Medicaid in Maryland.

Medicare in Maryland

Medicare, while not free like Medicaid, is a much more affordable option for many who qualify for this federal government program. Maryland residents 65 or older or have a qualifying disability or illness may qualify for Medicare.

Medicare is split into three different parts:

  • Part A: This is hospital insurance that covers inpatient stays, care in nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care. It is called “premium-free Part A” and typically does not require a monthly payment. It is available to buy for those who do not qualify for premium-free.
  • Part B: This is medical insurance that covers outpatient care, certain doctors’ services, medical supplies, and preventive services. This part does require a monthly premium, which is calculated based on your income.
  • Part D: This is prescription drug coverage that helps cover the cost of prescriptions, including many shots and vaccines.

Be sure to review all benefits and limitations to coverage before signing up for Medicare.

Methodology

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 Maryland for you

MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in Maryland from the website for Maryland Health Connection for all available metal tiers and across several age groups. Plans and premiums were analyzed in May 2021. 

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 the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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