The Cheapest Montana Health Insurance for Individuals and Families

The cost of health insurance in Montana on the private market varies depending on the value of coverage that you want. In Montana, health insurance in the private market is available in six tiers, each with varying premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. The Silver tier offers the best balance of premiums and quality coverage at an average cost of $439 per month. The cheapest Silver plan in Montana is Co-op Plus Silver, offered by Mountain Health CO-OP at an average rate of $355 monthly.

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Last Updated: 8/20/2021
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If you do not have health insurance from an employer or a government program such as Medicaid or Medicare, you can buy private health insurance through the Montana insurance exchange. Private health insurance costs vary depending on the plan you choose. Cheaper plans will typically have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, so it is important to find a plan that balances affordable premiums with good coverage.

If you want to find cheap health insurance in Montana through the Montana insurance marketplace, MoneyGeek has analyzed the cheapest plans for different ages and coverage amounts.

The Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by Metal Tier

In Montana, the metal tier system allows you to opt for health insurance plans with low or high premiums depending on the type of coverage you want. A plan with a lower premium will typically have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, meaning you get less medical coverage in the event you need healthcare. Plans with higher premiums have lower deductibles and provide more coverage when you need to pay for medical expenses.

Currently, there are six tiers of health insurance plans available in Montana, including Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Depending on the tier you choose, the average individual cost per plan will be:

  • Catastrophic: $329 per month
  • Bronze: $408 per month
  • Expanded Bronze: $360 per month
  • Silver: $439 per month
  • Gold: $500 per month
  • Platinum: $619 per month

The Expanded Bronze plan is less expensive than the Bronze plan, on average. Exceptions like these can happen in certain markets.

For people with a lot of medical costs, it may be cheaper to choose a Gold or Platinum plan because you’ll pay less out of pocket.

The table below shows the cheapest plan by monthly premium for each metal tier. Premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes in the Montana marketplace may vary greatly within a metal tier.

If you are a Montana resident with a low income, you may be eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSR). These are available on the Silver plan and give you access to much lower deductibles. This makes the Silver plan a great option for people with limited income.

Premiums in the table above are for a 40-year-old male sample profile for all types of plans available in Montana. These rates are for HMO or PPO plan types, with HMO being the most common in the state.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by Metal Tier

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  • Metal Tier
    Plan
    Company
    Monthly Cost
    OOP Max
  • Catastrophic
    Connected Care Catastrophic
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    $289
    $8,550
  • Bronze
    Blue Preferred Bronze PPO? 301
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
    $408
    $8,550
  • Expanded Bronze
    Blue Focus Bronze POS? 205
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
    $288
    $8,550
  • Silver
    Co-op Plus Silver
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    $355
    $8,550
  • Gold
    Blue Focus Gold POS? 207
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
    $408
    $8,550
  • Platinum
    Navigator Platinum 500
    PacificSource Health Plans
    $592
    $3,000

The Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by Age and Metal Tier

Health insurance costs in Montana vary depending on the age of the person being insured. A 26-year-old in Montana with a Silver plan will pay an average of $352 per month, while a 60-year-old will pay significantly higher premiums of roughly $933 monthly. These rates are based on PPO plans.

Health Insurance Costs in Montana by Age and Metal Tier

Health insurance premiums in Montana increase as you age. Low deductible plans such as Bronze have low monthly premiums but come with higher out-of-pocket costs. This means you will pay more out of pocket when you incur high medical costs.

For this analysis, the rates indicated are based on sample ages and may vary depending on your income and age. In some cases, health insurance in the Montana marketplace can be cheaper for older people due to tax premiums and other state regulations. Getting a customized quote by applying for a plan is the only way to know your exact quote.

You can use the table below to toggle between metal tiers and the specific ages of the plan buyer. You can also review our guide on health insurance in Montana for information on which metal tier to buy.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by Age And Metal Tier

Sort by Metal Tier:

Silver

Sort by Age:

40 years

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  • Plan
    Company
    Monthly Rate
  • Catastrophic
    PPO
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    $206
  • Catastrophic
    PPO
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
    $264
  • Bronze
    PPO
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
    $292
  • Expanded Bronze
    HMO
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
    $206
  • Expanded Bronze
    PPO
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    $222
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by County

Health insurance rates for various plans can vary depending on where you live in Montana. States like Montana have rating areas that are considered when calculating the cost of health insurance. Counties within a particular rating area will typically use similar calculations for health insurance premiums. Montana has 56 counties which are split into four rating areas.

In Yellowstone, the most populous county in Montana, the cheapest Silver plan is Navigator Silver HSA 5500, offered by PacificSource Health Plans, which costs an average of $350 per month.

To find the cheapest plans in Montana for different tiers, you can use the table below to view the average rates for your particular county.

For this analysis, the plans used are for a sample 40-year-old male in Montana purchasing a health plan in that county.

Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in Montana by County

Sort by county:

Beaverhead

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  • Metal Tier
    Company
    Cheapest Plan
    Monthly Premium
  • Musselshell
    Catastrophic
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    Connected Care Catastrophic
    $266
  • Yellowstone
    Catastrophic
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    Connected Care Catastrophic
    $266
  • Carbon
    Catastrophic
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    Connected Care Catastrophic
    $266
  • Stillwater
    Catastrophic
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    Connected Care Catastrophic
    $266
  • Sweet Grass
    Catastrophic
    Mountain Health CO-OP
    Connected Care Catastrophic
    $266

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

If you are a young person in Montana with few medical expenses, you may opt for a health insurance plan with lower premiums and high out-of-pocket maximums. This means that you will pay less in monthly premiums. However, if you have a medical emergency or incur high medical expenses, you will end up paying more out of pocket.

In Montana, the cheapest option with the highest out-of-pocket maximums for a 26-year-old is an Expanded Bronze Blue Focus Bronze POS 205 offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana. This plan costs an average of $231 per month. MoneyGeek defines a high out-of-pocket max as a plan with max out-of-pocket expenses of $8,250 or higher.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana offer the cheapest plan with the highest out-of-pocket maximums in Montana.

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

For people in Montana with high medical expenses, the best option might be a plan with high premiums and low out-of-pocket maximums. This means that they will pay more in monthly premiums, but the insurance company will cover their costs sooner once they exceed the stipulated out-of-pocket limits. This type of plan is ideal for people with recurring medical expenses who are likely to reach their out-of-pocket maximums quickly.

The cheapest option for a low out-of-pocket maximum in Montana for a 40-year-old is a Navigator Gold HSA 3000 plan that is offered by PacificSource Health Plans. This Gold plan costs an average of $436 per month.

The Navigator Gold HSA 3000 plan from PacificSource Health Plans has an out-of-pocket maximum of $3,000. MoneyGeek defines a low out-of-pocket maximum plan as one with max out-of-pocket expenses lower than $4,250.

PacificSource Health Plans

PacificSource Health Plans offers the cheapest option for a low out-of-pocket maximum in Montana, which is a Gold plan. Gold plans like the Navigator Gold HSA 3000 typically have higher premiums than Silver or Bronze plans. However, due to the lower out-of-pocket maximums, the Gold plan offers better coverage for people with frequent medical expenses. Low-cost plans like Bronze may cost lower in monthly premiums but end up costing more in terms of out-of-pocket expenses.

Cheapest PPO/HMO Health Insurance Plan in Montana

Your healthcare needs and preferences are key considerations you need to keep in mind when choosing a healthcare plan. In Montana, residents can choose between Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. Most plans in the Montana marketplace are HMO plans.

Compared to other plans, HMO plans tend to be cheaper. However, they will restrict you to a specified provider network except in the case of an emergency. You will also need a referral to see a specialist on an HMO plan. PPO plans are more expensive than HMO plans, but they have a wider provider network. Additionally, no referrals are required to see a specialist. The cheapest health insurance in Montana for a Silver plan on both available options on average are:

  • HMO: Blue Focus Silver POS 206 provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana at a cost of $380 per month for a 40-year-old.
  • PPO: Navigator Silver HSA 5500 from PacificSource Health Plans costing $369 monthly for the average 40-year-old.

Cheapest Plan in Montana With an HSA

For Montana residents who are in relatively good health and do not need frequent medical attention, a Health Savings Account (HSA) may be a suitable option. An HSA plan costs less and allows you to make personal pre-tax contributions to build up a nest egg. If you do not use these contributions on health expenses, you can put them towards savings.

For the average 40-year-old, MoneyGeek found that the cheapest healthcare plans in Montana with an HSA option for each tier are, on average:

  • Expanded Bronze: Connected Care Bronze Plus plan offered by Mountain Health CO-OP, which costs $352 monthly.
  • Silver: Navigator Silver HSA 5500 plan provided by PacificSource Health Plans at $369 monthly.
  • Gold: Navigator Gold HSA 3000 plan offered by PacificSource Health Plans, which costs $436 monthly.

It is important to note that HSA plans typically have high deductibles, which means that you may have to pay out of your savings if you have a significant medical expense.

What to Know About Health Insurance in Montana

The rates used in MoneyGeek’s analysis are based on private plan data from Montana Marketplaces. You may find that you qualify for even cheaper rates when you apply for a plan from the Marketplace. For low-income Montana residents or senior citizens who qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, the rates will be lower than premiums for any of the Marketplace plans.

Private Health Insurance on the Montana Marketplace

Private health insurance plans in the Montana marketplaces are categorized into different metal tiers. Each of these tiers has different premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Here are the different metal tiers in Montana:

  • Catastrophic: This tier is characterized by low premiums, high deductibles and high out-of-pocket maximums. A Catastrophic plan offers the fewest benefits compared to the other tiers and is only available to people ages 30 or below, as well as low-income residents who may not have the funds to purchase more costly plans.
  • Bronze: A Bronze plan is ideal for people who have few medical expenses but still need protection in case of a medical emergency. Bronze plans typically have lower out-of-pocket costs compared to Catastrophic plans, so they offer better coverage. However, compared to Silver and Gold plans, Bronze plans can be quite expensive in terms of out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Expanded Bronze: This plan offers more coverage than a Bronze plan by offering lower out-of-pocket costs. The Expanded Bronze plan is more affordable than Silver, Gold and Platinum plans.
  • Silver: Silver plans offer a balance between coverage and costs with low out-of-pocket costs and more affordable premiums than higher-tier plans. For the average person with moderate medical expenses, Silver plans offer sufficient coverage with moderate out-of-pocket costs and low monthly premiums.
  • Gold: For people with high medical expenses, Gold plans, which have low out-of-pocket costs and low deductibles, offer better protection than lower-tier plans. This is because the low out-of-pocket maximums mean that once you reach the out-of-pocket limit, your insurer will pay your medical expenses. However, due to the low out-of-pocket expenses, Gold plans have high monthly premiums.
  • Platinum: The Platinum tier has the highest premiums compared to all the other plans available. Platinum plans have the lowest out-of-pocket maximums and are best for people who have recurrent medical expenses who are likely to reach their out-of-pocket limit quickly. This is because the insurer covers any medical expenses above the out-of-pocket limit, which can be quite high for people with recurring or high medical expenditures.

It’s possible to get cheaper plans or better coverage than the ones listed in our study based on your income level. Montana residents whose income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level can get premium tax credits. A two-person household in Montana making between $17,420 and $69,680 per year qualifies for premium tax credits.

When you want to enroll in a new health insurance plan or renew your existing plan through the Montana Healthcare Marketplace, you can do so during the open enrollment period which usually falls between November and December. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the open enrollment period has been extended.

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In Montana, you can get cost-sharing reductions on a Silver plan if your income is between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty level. These reductions can lower your deductible, co-payments and out-of-pocket maximum. A two-person household in Montana making $24,040–$43,550 qualifies for these reductions. With the cost-sharing reductions, you may be able to buy a Gold plan at Silver plan rates.

Medicaid in Montana

The cheapest health insurance in Montana is Medicaid since it is free for eligible residents. Montana is a Medicaid expansion state, so you can qualify for Medicaid based on income alone if your income is below 138% of the federal poverty level.

Medicare in Montana

Montana residents who are 65 years or older and those with a qualifying disability or illness can qualify for Medicare. This is a federal government program. Medicare may have some costs attached and is not entirely free like Medicaid. However, Medicare is still one of the most affordable options for Montana residents who qualify for the program.

Medicare is typically divided into three parts:

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance): This covers expenses arising from inpatient hospital stays, hospice care in a skilled nursing facility and certain types of home health care. For most people, there is no premium for Medicare Part A.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance): Part B covers outpatient care, some doctors' services, medical supplies and preventive services. This part of Medicare requires a monthly premium.
  • Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): This covers the costs of prescription drugs, including most recommended vaccines.

Medicare benefits, limitations and applicable premiums can vary depending on the coverage you choose and other qualifying factors.

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 Montana for you

MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in Montana 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 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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