The Cheapest North Dakota Health Insurance for Individuals and Families
The cost of health insurance in North Dakota on the private market is determined by the amount of medical coverage an individual needs. North Dakota's private health insurance market offers five metal tiers with varying deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Silver plans provide a solid balance of premium costs and coverage amounts among the five tiers. Altru Prime by Medica Silver Copay, the Silver plan from Medica, is the cheapest in North Dakota costing an average monthly premium of $408.
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If your employer doesn't offer health insurance or if you can't obtain Medicare or Medicaid through the government, you can purchase a private health insurance plan through the North Dakota insurance exchange.
However, it isn't always easy to find a health insurance plan offering low premiums and great coverage. Cheaper plans come with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums than insurance policies with higher premiums. You pay less each month for a cheaper plan but receive less coverage for your medical expenses, meaning you pay more out of pocket.
To help those looking for a suitable insurance plan, MoneyGeek looked in the North Dakota insurance exchange and identified the state’s best and cheapest health insurance plans for various age groups and plan types.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota by Metal Tier
Marketplace health insurance plans are commonly categorized into several metal tiers: Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver and Gold. The premiums and cost-sharing depend on the tier you choose. In North Dakota, Gold plans have the highest cost-sharing by the insurer, whereas Catastrophic plans have the lowest. As a result, a Gold plan will usually have the highest premiums.
Metal tier plans with lower monthly premiums will charge higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. On the contrary, a plan with a higher premium offers you more insurance coverage with lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
In North Dakota, the average health insurance premiums per month for the five tiers are as follows:
- Catastrophic: $210 per month
- Bronze: $360 per month
- Expanded Bronze: $320 per month
- Silver: $495 per month
- Gold: $464 per month
Note that the average monthly rate for a Silver plan is more expensive than a Gold plan in North Dakota. These exceptions can happen in the insurance market depending on the insurer and other determinants.
If you're a healthy person, you might rarely incur medical expenses. A cheaper insurance plan, such as Expanded Bronze or Bronze, can help you save significantly on monthly premiums. On the other hand, those spending a lot on medical costs will benefit by paying for a Silver or Gold plan. Although you'll end up paying more monthly for such a plan, you will have lower deductibles and maximums.
Note that in the North Dakota insurance exchange, premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes may vary significantly within each metal tier. The table below displays the cheapest monthly premium for each metal tier.
If your income is low, you may be eligible for cost-sharing reductions, in which case a Silver plan will often be the best choice. These plans have moderate premiums and deductibles without sacrificing much when it comes to coverage.
MoneyGeek used a 40-year-old male's sample profile to calculate the rates for all types of plans available in North Dakota. These rates are for HMO or PPO plan types, with HMO being the most common type of insurance plan in the state
Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota by Metal Tier
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- Metal TierPlanCompanyMonthly CostOOP Max
- CatastrophicSanford TRUE $8,550Sanford Health Plan$154$8,550
- BronzeAltru Prime by Medica Bronze ValueMedica$319$8,550
- Expanded BronzeSanford TRUE $7,000Sanford Health Plan$230$8,400
- SilverAltru Prime by Medica Silver CopayMedica$408$8,550
- GoldSanford TRUE $1,750Sanford Health Plan$375$6,250
The Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota by Age and Metal Tier
In the North Dakota health insurance marketplace, age has a significant effect on the cost of a plan. A Silver plan (across all HMO and PPO plans) for a 26-year-old will cost an average of $397 per month, whereas a 60-year-old will pay around $1,051 per month for the same policy.
Health Insurance Costs in North Dakota by Age and Metal Tier
Your monthly health insurance premium will rise as you age. Although a low-deductible health insurance plan like a Bronze plan can be cheaper, it'll cost you more in out-of-pocket charges and deductibles if you have high medical costs.
The health insurance premiums in the insurance marketplace data are just averages based on sample ages. Considering the combination of your age and income, the costs can significantly vary. Health insurance may be cheaper for seniors in North Dakota due to tax premiums and other regulations. The best way to determine your exact premium is to apply for a plan.
You can use the table below to determine the cost of different metal tier plans for various age groups. If you want more insight into the metal tiers, you can read our North Dakota health insurance guide.
Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota by Age And Metal Tier
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- PlanCompanyMonthly Rate
- CatastrophicHMOSanford Health Plan$110
- CatastrophicPPOSanford Health Plan$139
- CatastrophicPPOBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota$139
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota by County
The cost of health insurance in North Dakota varies based on where you reside in the state. North Dakota and other states are divided into rating areas that health insurance companies use to calculate premiums. The counties belonging to one rating area will have the same method of determining premium rates.
North Dakota has 53 counties divided into four rating areas. In Cass County, the most populous county in the state, Sanford Health Plan offers the most affordable health insurance policy. The company provides its Silver plan Sanford TRUE $4,750 at an average of $411 per month.
You can use the table below as a reference to find the cheapest plan for each metal tier in your county.
The average premiums across all metal tiers are calculated for a 40-year-old male purchasing a health plan in that county.
Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in North Dakota by County
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- Metal TierCompanyCheapest PlanMonthly Premium
- BurleighCatastrophicSanford Health PlanSanford TRUE $8,550$154
- MortonCatastrophicSanford Health PlanSanford TRUE $8,550$154
- CassCatastrophicSanford Health PlanSanford TRUE $8,550$154
- Grand ForksCatastrophicSanford Health PlanSanford Simplicity $8,550$194
- AdamsCatastrophicSanford Health PlanSanford TRUE $8,550$154
The Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota With High Out-of-Pocket Maxes
Most healthy younger people may want to choose a low-cost health insurance plan considering that their medical costs are generally low. Although these plans have lower premiums, they will have high out-of-pocket maximums, making medical emergencies very costly.
Sanford Health Plan's Sanford TRUE $8,550 is the cheapest plan with a high out-of-pocket max in North Dakota. The policy costs an average of $123 per month for a 26-year-old individual.
MoneyGeek defines a high out-of-pocket plan as one with maximum yearly costs of $8,250 or higher.
Sanford Health Plan
As this plan belongs to the Catastrophic tier, you can apply for it only if you are under the age of 30 or qualify for a hardship or affordability exemption. Individuals who cannot buy health insurance due to personal or financial reasons are eligible for these exemptions.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in North Dakota With Low Out-of-Pocket Maximums
If you frequently make doctor’s visits or have higher medical expenses than an average person, a plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum and high premiums may be the best fit. Although you pay higher monthly premiums for the policy, expenses for regular appointments and prescription drugs will soon make you reach the low out-of-pocket maximum set for the plan. Your insurance company will then start paying for your medical expenses.
BlueDirect 90 Gold from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is the most affordable choice in North Dakota for a plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum. This plan will cost $485 a month for an average 40-year-old male.
MoneyGeek considers any plan with a maximum out-of-pocket cost of less than $4,250 to be a low out-of-pocket max plan. In the case of BlueDirect 90 Gold, this cost is $4,000.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Being a Gold plan, you can expect higher monthly premiums for this policy than Silver or Bronze plans. Regardless, it will have a low out-of-pocket maximum and help you spend less of your money on medical bills. Once you reach the maximum cap, the company will cover your medical expenses.
Cheapest HMO/PPO Health Insurance Plan in North Dakota
You can find the best suitable health insurance plan by considering your healthcare needs and preferences. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans are available in North Dakota.
North Dakota’s baseline plan, the HMO plan, covers the services you use through in-network health providers. A primary care physician will refer you to specialists. An HMO is cheaper than most plan types and has lower monthly payments. The plan doesn't cover the costs of services acquired through a provider outside of its network, except in an emergency. On the other hand, a PPO plan offers you the liberty of using medical services from in-network and out-of-network providers without a referral from a primary care physician. These plans can be expensive, considering the flexibility they offer.
Of all the available plan types, the cheapest health insurance plans in North Dakota are:
- Cheapest HMO Silver Plan: Altru Prime by Medica Silver Copay from Medica at an average of $408 per month for a 40-year-old.
- Cheapest PPO Silver Plan: Sanford Simplicity $4,750 offered by Sanford Health Plan at an average of $513 per month for a 40-year-old.
Cheapest Plan in North Dakota With an HSA
Some health insurance plans in North Dakota come with an HSA or Health Savings Account. These are ideal for healthy individuals who don't frequently visit a doctor. You pay less for these plans and can make more pre-tax contributions for medical benefits. The money will remain in your savings if you don't use it for medical expenses.
Amongst all the available metal tiers in North Dakota, the cheapest plans with an HSA are:
- Cheapest HSA Expanded Bronze Plan: Sanford TRUE $6,900 HSA/HDHP provided by Sanford Health Plan. This HMO plan costs an average of $241 per month for a 40-year-old male.
- Cheapest HSA Silver Plan: BlueDirect 80 Silver by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. This PPO plan has an average cost of $551 per month for a 40-year-old male.
- Cheapest HSA Gold Plan: BlueDirect 90 Gold by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. This PPO plan is available at an average of $485 per month for a 40-year-old male.
It's worth noting that HSA plans often come with high deductibles. If you have an unexpected medical expense with high medical bills, you must be ready to spend a considerable amount of your savings.
What to Know About Health Insurance in North Dakota
MoneyGeek’s analysis calculated the sample rates based on private plan data from North Dakota's insurance marketplace. The rates shown in our data may not always be the cheapest you can find. Residents from low-income families or seniors may be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, which are usually cheaper than most marketplace plans.
Private Health Insurance on the North Dakota Marketplace
The North Dakota insurance exchange classifies healthcare plans into various metal tiers. The Catastrophic and Bronze plans have the lowest premiums but the highest out-of-pocket maximums. Although Gold plans feature high monthly premiums, they lower the total costs incurred to you.
All metal-tier health insurance plans discussed below meet the state and federal health insurance requirements. However, they have their pros and cons.
- Catastrophic: The cheapest of all tiers, catastrophic plans aren't available for everyone. You need to be under 30 or qualify for a financial hardship exemption to apply for a Catastrophic insurance plan. With the lowest monthly premiums, these plans offer less coverage and high deductibles. But, the plans cover the same essential health benefits as most other plans.
- Bronze: Bronze plans also are cheaper than other metal tiers but more expensive than Catastrophic plans. Although the monthly premiums are low, you tend to pay more from your pocket when medical care is needed. Their deductibles can be in the thousands of dollars per year. They are ideal for people who rarely need to see a doctor and only need a low-cost policy to protect them in the event of a medical emergency.
- Expanded Bronze: Expanded Bronze plans are ideal for those who do not expect major medical expenses but wish to make the best use of their insurance plan from the first day of coverage. While Bronze plans only cover up to 60% of your medical expenses, Expanded Bronze plans go as high as 65%.
- Silver: If you wish your insurance plan to cover more of your routine medical care, this plan is right for you. The premiums of Silver plans are moderate, and the out-of-pocket costs are lower than Catastrophic, Bronze and Extended Bronze plans. They are ideal for those qualifying for cost-sharing reductions. Although you pay higher monthly premiums, these plans let you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year if you have many medical expenses.
- Gold: With higher monthly premiums, Gold plans have much lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs than the lower-tier plans discussed above. The plan is ideal for those who regularly get medical treatments and are willing to pay higher premiums to cover more expenses. The total costs incurred by choosing a Gold plan will be much lower than the lower-tier plans.
You may be eligible for even cheaper plans or increased coverage than the rates displayed in MoneyGeek’s study. Your family income level is a significant determinant in determining the rates. If your monthly family income falls between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, you are eligible to get premium tax credits. These tax credits are available to a two-person household in North Dakota earning between $17,420 and $69,680 per year. To learn more, use the HealthCare.gov calculator.
Open enrollment is the period when you can enroll in a new healthcare plan through the health insurance exchange. It typically falls between November and December. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the government extend the enrollment period. You are eligible for a special enrollment period if you are going through certain life events, such as getting married, having a baby, losing your health insurance or moving. Enrollment periods for job-based insurance programs might vary. There is no set enrollment period for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
When you purchase a Silver plan, you are eligible for cost-sharing reductions if your family income is between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty line. Those qualifying for these reductions could get Gold plan coverage at the cost of a Silver plan. The cost-sharing reductions can reduce your deductible, copayments or coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums. In 2021, a two-person household making $24,040–43,550 in North Dakota may be eligible for these reduced rates.
Medicaid in North Dakota
Medicaid is free, making it the cheapest option for eligible residents. North Dakota is a Medicaid expansion state. This means that you can qualify for free Medicaid based on your income alone, as long as your family income is below 138% of the federal poverty level.
Medicare in North Dakota
Residents of North Dakota who are 65 or older or younger adults with a disability or illness may be eligible for Medicare, a federal healthcare program. You may have to pay for some coverage through a Medicare plan, unlike Medicaid. However, as compared to a plan purchased from the insurance exchange, Medicare plans are significantly cheaper.
Medicare has three parts:
- Part A: This insurance is called hospital insurance and covers your hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health care services.
- Part B: Part B is your medical insurance, covering certain doctor's services, outpatient treatment, medical supplies and preventive services.
- Part D: This covers your prescription drugs, including most recommended shots or vaccines. It’s otherwise called prescription drug insurance.
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 North Dakota for you
MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in North Dakota 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
- HealthCare.gov. "Catastrophic Health Plans." Accessed June 15, 2021.
- HealthCare.gov. "Open Enrollment Period." Accessed June 15, 2021.
- HealthCare.gov. "The metal categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum." Accessed June 15, 2021.
- Medicare.gov. "What’s Medicare?." Accessed June 15, 2021.