Health insurance is often gained through employers or government assistance programs, but if you cannot get it through these means, you can purchase private plans through the New Jersey insurance exchange.
While it may be tempting to go for the most affordable option, cheaper plans tend to come with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums — often making you pay more in the long run for medical coverage. On the other hand, higher premiums have lower out-of-pocket expenses and let you get coverage sooner.
MoneyGeek analyzed various rates in New Jersey’s insurance marketplace to get the cheapest premiums for individuals of different ages and plan types to provide you with a range of options to decide which coverage you might need.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey by Metal Tier
In the private insurance marketplace in New Jersey and elsewhere, plans are divided into metal tiers. These tiers determine your coverage, premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes. In New Jersey, there are three metal tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
The average cost of each metal tier in New Jersey for a 40-year-old is:
- Bronze: $440 per month
- Silver: $551 per month
- Gold: $755 per month
Bronze plans are the cheapest — but note that they come with the highest deductibles and are not suitable for those who frequently need medical care. Alternatively, Gold plans may cost the most up-front, but the tradeoff is that they have lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, letting coverage kick in sooner.
You can use the table below to see the cheapest plan by monthly premiums for your preferred metal tier. Note that in the New Jersey marketplace, premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes change greatly based on your metal tier.
Residents of New Jersey with low income may be eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSR). These apply to Silver plans, giving you more value for money as you will have lower deductibles than most people would pay for these policies.
The premiums outlined are based on a sample profile of a 40-year-old male for EPO and HMO plans, which are the only available plan types in New Jersey. Note that HMO plans are the most common in the state.
Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey by Metal Tier
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- Metal TierPlanCompanyMonthly CostOOP Max
- BronzeIHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75AmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ$337$7,000
- SilverIHC Select Silver EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75AmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ$377$6,900
- GoldOscar Gold Classic Option 1 (Free 24/7 Virtual Visits + Free Personal Care Team)Oscar Garden State Insurance Corporation$637$4,500
The Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey by Age and Metal Tier
Health insurance premiums on the private market are largely affected by your age. Case in point, a 26-year-old in New Jersey will only have to pay an average of $441 for a Silver EPO plan, while a 60-year-old will pay around $1,169 for the same coverage. This is a whopping difference of $728 for a 34-year age gap.
Health Insurance Costs in New Jersey by Age and Metal Tier
While age is a significant factor considered in your premiums, it isn’t the only one. The unique combination of your age and income can give you discounts or better offers. For instance, seniors can get premium tax credits, and low-income individuals may be eligible for cost-sharing reductions. It is only when you apply for a plan that you will get an exact quote.
Take a look at the table below to see how premiums of different metal tiers can change with age and plan type. If you’re having trouble deciding on what metal tier to buy, take a look at our guide on health insurance in New Jersey.
Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey by Age And Metal Tier
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- PlanCompanyMonthly Rate
- BronzeEPOAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ$241
- BronzeEPOHorizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey$256
- BronzeEPOAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ$264
- BronzeEPOAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ$282
- BronzeEPOOscar Garden State Insurance Corporation$285
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey by County
The rates of health insurance can also change based on your county. This is because states are divided into rating areas, which insurers use to calculate premiums. However, New Jersey only has one rating area — which means individual counties do not affect insurance rates. Instead, characteristics like your age and income are taken into account.
The cheapest Silver health insurance plan in New Jersey’s most populous county, Bergen, is the IHC Select Silver EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75 by AmeriHealth, with an average premium of $377 per month.
Use the table below to find the cheapest plan in New Jersey for all metal tiers.
The rates mentioned are based on a sample profile of a 40-year-old male in New Jersey.
Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in New Jersey by County
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- Metal TierCompanyCheapest PlanMonthly Premium
- WarrenBronzeAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJIHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75$337
- AtlanticBronzeAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJIHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75$337
- BergenBronzeAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJIHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75$337
- EssexBronzeAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJIHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75$337
- HudsonBronzeAmeriHealth Ins Company of NJIHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75$337
The Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey With High Out-of-Pocket Maxes
Healthy or younger individuals in New Jersey who do not have many medical needs can opt for a low-cost plan with a high out-of-pocket maximum. While this means lower monthly premiums, you may have to pay more if you have a medical emergency or visit the doctor frequently within a given year.
The OMNIA Bronze plan by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the most affordable health insurance in New Jersey for those who want a low-premium plan with a high out-of-pocket max. It costs an average of $287 per month for a 26-year-old. Note that MoneyGeek defines a high out-of-pocket max as one that is $8,250 or higher.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in New Jersey With Low Out-of-Pocket Maximums
Individuals in New Jersey who expect to need medical care frequently may prefer to get a high-premium plan with low out-of-pocket expenses. While it involves higher premiums, frequently visiting the doctor or purchasing prescription drugs can help reach the maximum quickly — which means you can get covered sooner and have the insurer start paying the costs.
The most affordable health insurance in New Jersey with a low out-of-pocket maximum is Oscar Garden State Insurance Corporation’s Oscar Silver Classic $0 Ded (Free 24/7 Virtual Visits + Free Personal Care Team). This policy falls under the Silver tier and is an EPO plan, costing an average of $495 per month for a 40-year-old. This plan’s out-of-pocket maximum is $250, which is quite low considering how MoneyGeek classifies a low out-of-pocket max as one that falls under $4,250.
Cheapest EPO/HMO Health Insurance Plan in New Jersey
Your medical needs are a significant factor to consider when choosing your healthcare plan. In New Jersey, there are two plans you can choose from: a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan and an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan.
If you need a more affordable option, you may opt for an HMO plan. Note that this comes with limitations, as you need to stick to your provider network and get a referral to see a specialist. For more flexibility, EPOs let you go out of your provider network in case of an emergency, and you won’t always need a referral to see a specialist.
For residents looking for cheap health insurance in New Jersey, MoneyGeek identified the most affordable options in the state for all plan types within the Silver tier:
- HMO: The IHC Select Silver HMO Local Value $50/$75 by AmeriHealth HMO, Inc., which costs an average of $387 per month for a 40-year-old.
- EPO: The IHC Select Silver EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75 by AmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ, which costs an average of $377 per month for a 40-year-old.
Cheapest Plan in New Jersey With an HSA
New Jersey residents who are in good health but still want coverage can opt to get a plan with a health savings account (HSA) option. This lets you build savings, tax-free, to use for any health-related expenses. You can also use this money for non-health-related expenses, but note that you will have to pay tax if you withdraw anything for non-medical reasons.
The most affordable health insurance in New Jersey with an HSA option for all metal tiers are:
- Bronze: The IHC Bronze EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75 by AmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ, costing an average of $337 per month for a 40-year-old.
- Silver: The IHC Select Silver EPO HSA AmeriHealth Hospital Advantage $50/$75 by AmeriHealth Ins Company of NJ, costing an average of $377 per month for a 40-year-old.
Note that while HSA plans are cheaper, they often come with higher out-of-pocket expenses. Your savings may be drained if you have major medical costs.
What to Know About Health Insurance in New Jersey
The rates mentioned in MoneyGeek’s study are based on plans from New Jersey’s private insurance market. However, it’s still possible to get cheaper premiums based on your unique income and age combination. For instance, older residents or those with a low income may qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, which are cheaper alternatives compared to any other plan on the marketplace.
Private Health Insurance on the New Jersey Marketplace
Private health insurance in the New Jersey marketplace is categorized by metal tiers. These tiers determine the split of costs between the insurer and the policyholder, along with the premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
The state of New Jersey has three metal tiers:
- Bronze: The Bronze tier has the cheapest plans but also has the highest out-of-pocket expenses. Routine care such as checkups will have to be covered by the policyholder, which makes this best suited for individuals in good health who want some form of protection in case of a major accident.
- Silver: Silver plans offer the best balance between premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. They can also offer the most value for your money, as qualified individuals can get discounts or tax premiums on plans from this tier.
- Gold: The most expensive tier in the state is the Gold tier. It has the highest premiums and the lowest out-of-pocket expenses, which means coverage can kick in sooner. This is suited for those who frequently need medical care or have expensive prescription drugs.
If your income falls between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, you may be able to get even cheaper coverage than the plans listed in MoneyGeek’s study. For instance, a two-person household in New Jersey making anywhere between $17,420 and $69,680 per year may qualify for discounts or better coverage. To find out how much you can save based on your income level, check out HealthCare.gov’s calculator.
If you’re wondering how to get health insurance in New Jersey, take note of the open enrollment period. This is where you can enroll or disenroll from your health plan, and it typically falls between November and December. However, due to the pandemic, enrollment dates have been expanded to provide more flexibility.
For New Jersey residents whose income falls between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty level, or $24,040 and $43,550 for a two-person household, you may qualify for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). These can help lower your deductibles, copayments or coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums. If you qualify, you can even get Gold-tier coverage at the cost of a Silver plan.
Medicaid in New Jersey
An alternative to the private health insurance market in New Jersey is Medicaid, a federal and state program. This is a free option that can cover medical costs, but note that only those who qualify can enroll. As New Jersey is a Medicaid expansion state, you can qualify on income alone if you make less than 138% of the federal poverty level, as long as you also fall under at least one of the following categories for Medicaid in New Jersey:
- Families with dependent children
- People who are 65 years of age or older, blind or permanently disabled
- Pregnant women
Medicare in New Jersey
Residents in New Jersey who are 65 and older or have a disability or illness may qualify for Medicare. This is a federal government assistance program that can help pay for certain medical services, but unlike Medicaid, it requires some form of payment. Regardless, it’s still a great alternative to private health insurance as it is a far cheaper option.
Medicare can pay for the following services:
- Part A: Otherwise known as hospital insurance, this covers in-patient stays, hospice care, care from a skilled nursing facility and some forms of home care.
- Part B: Also known as medical insurance, this pays for doctors’ services, medical supplies, preventive services and outpatient care.
- Part D: This part helps pay for any prescription drugs needed and vaccines or shots.
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 New Jersey for you
MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in New Jersey from the website for New Jersey Health Link 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 Mark Fitzpatrick
- Medicare.gov. "What is Medicare?." Accessed July 20, 2021.
- New Jersey Department of Human Services. "NJ Medicaid." Accessed July 20, 2021.