If your job does not provide health insurance, or if you are unable to acquire Medicare or Medicaid through the government, you can purchase a private health insurance plan through the Ohio insurance exchange.
However, finding a health insurance plan with low premiums and good coverage is not easy. Cheaper insurance policies have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums than expensive insurance plans. You pay less each month for a low-cost plan and end up getting less coverage for your medical costs. This makes you pay more out of your pocket for medical bills.
MoneyGeek analyzed the Ohio insurance exchange and identified the best and cheapest health insurance plans in the state for various age groups and plan types to assist those looking for a suitable insurance plan.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by Metal Tier
Health insurance plans on the Ohio marketplace are classified into multiple metal tiers: Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The premiums and cost-sharing levels vary depending on the tier you select. Platinum plans have the greatest insurer cost-sharing, while Catastrophic and Bronze plans have the lowest. As a result, a Platinum plan will be the most expensive.
Metal tier plans with lower monthly premiums will have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. A high-priced plan, on the other hand, provides you with more insurance coverage, lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket maximums.
The following are the average monthly health insurance premiums for the six tiers:
- Catastrophic: $271 per month
- Bronze: $342 per month
- Expanded Bronze: $374 per month
- Silver: $471 per month
- Gold: $575 per month
- Platinum: $780 per month
If you're in good health, medical bills may be something you rarely have to deal with. A cheap insurance plan, such as a Bronze plan, can save you from paying a lot on monthly premiums. In contrast, those who have higher medical costs will benefit from purchasing a Gold or Platinum plan. Although your monthly premiums will be higher for such a health insurance plan, your deductibles will be low, and coverage will be extensive.
It should be noted that premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums in the Ohio insurance market can vary greatly within each metal tier. The table below shows the cheapest monthly premium for each metal tier.
If your income is low, you may be eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSR), in which case a Silver plan may be the best option. These plans include affordable premiums and deductibles, as well as good coverage.
MoneyGeek calculated the rates for all types of plans available in Ohio using a 40-year-old male's sample profile. The rates above apply to HMO or PPO plans, with the HMO being the most popular kind of insurance plan in the state.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by Metal Tier
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- Metal TierPlanCompanyMonthly CostOOP Max
- CatastrophicMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - DaytonMedMutual$218$8,550
- BronzeAmbetter Essential Care 1 (2021)Ambetter from Buckeye Health$277$8,300
- Expanded BronzeAmbetter Essential Care 10 (2021)Ambetter from Buckeye Health$285$8,400
- SilverAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)Ambetter from Buckeye Health$355$8,400
- GoldAmbetter Secure Care 5 (2021)Ambetter from Buckeye Health$421$6,300
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by Age and Metal Tier
While analyzing the plans from the Ohio health exchange, age has a major effect on the cost of a health insurance plan. As you age, your insurance premiums also increase. For instance, a Silver plan (across all HMO plans) for a 26-year-old individual from Ohio will cost an average of $377 per month, whereas a 60-year-old will pay around $1,000 per month for the same plan.
Health Insurance Costs in Ohio by Age and Metal Tier
Although a health insurance policy like a Bronze plan may cost less per month, it will cost you more in out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles if your medical expenses are high.
The health insurance premiums in the insurance marketplace data are averages based on sample ages. The cost can vary greatly depending on your age and income. Because insurers consider tax premiums and other requirements, seniors in Ohio can sometimes get quotes cheaper than these sample rates. That being said, you won't know your exact premium unless you apply for a health insurance plan.
You can use the table below to understand how costs change based on different metal tier plans and age groups. If you want to learn more about the various tiers and make an informed decision, see our article on Ohio health insurance.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by Age And Metal Tier
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- PlanCompanyMonthly Rate
- CatastrophicHMOOscar Buckeye State Insurance Corporation$181
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by County
The cost of health insurance in Ohio varies depending on where you live. Ohio and other states are separated into rating areas used by health insurance carriers to calculate premiums. Premiums will be calculated in the same way for counties in the same rating area.
Ohio's 88 counties divide into 17 rating areas. In the state's most populous county, Franklin, the cheapest Silver health insurance plan is offered by Ambetter from Buckeye Health. The company's Ambetter Balanced Care 29 costs $375 per month on average.
Use the table below as a guide to find the cheapest plan for each metal tier in your county.
We used a 40-year-old male’s profile to calculate the average premiums across all metal tiers.
Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in Ohio by County
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- Metal TierCompanyCheapest PlanMonthly Premium
- WilliamsCatastrophicMedMutualMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - Mercy$219
- FultonCatastrophicMedMutualMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - Mercy$219
- LucasCatastrophicMedMutualMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - Mercy$219
- DefianceCatastrophicMedMutualMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - Mercy$219
- HenryCatastrophicMedMutualMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - Mercy$219
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio With High Out-of-Pocket Maxes
Because their medical bills are often low, most healthy younger people in Ohio may wish to choose a low-cost health insurance plan. These plans will have lower premiums but will cost you a significant amount of money if you need to utilize the insurance for a medical emergency or frequent doctor visits.
Market HMO Young Adult Essentials - Dayton by MedMutual is the cheapest health insurance plan with a high out-of-pocket maximum in Ohio. For a 26-year-old individual, MedMutual charges an average of $175 per month for this plan.
MoneyGeek defines a high out-of-pocket maximum plan as one with yearly maximum out-of-pocket costs of $8,250 or higher.
This plan belongs to the Catastrophic tier, and not everyone can apply for it. You can only apply for this plan if you are under 30 or qualify for a hardship or affordability exemption. These exemptions are available to anyone unable to purchase health insurance due to personal or financial reasons.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio With Low Out-of-Pocket Maximums
A health insurance plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum and higher premiums may be the best fit if you visit the doctor frequently or have more medical expenses than the average individual. Although your monthly premiums will be higher for such plans, expenses for regular doctor visits and prescription drugs will soon make you reach the low out-of-pocket limit. Your insurance company will subsequently cover your medical bills.
The cheapest plan in Ohio with a low out-of-pocket maximum is AultCare Platinum 1000 No Pediatric Dental from AultCare Insurance Company. For a 40-year-old male, this plan will cost an average of $793 per month.
A low out-of-pocket maximum plan is one with an annual out-of-pocket cost of less than $4,250. In the instance of the AultCare Platinum 1000 No Pediatric Dental plan, the maximum is just $1,000.
AultCare Insurance Company
This is a Platinum plan, and you can expect to pay high monthly premiums. However, it doesn’t take long to reach the out-of-pocket maximum due to the low limit.
Cheapest HMO/PPO Health Insurance Plan in Ohio
Consider your healthcare needs and preferences to get the best health insurance plan in Ohio for you. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are available in Ohio.
The HMO plan, Ohio's standard plan, covers the services you use through in-network health providers. You will be referred to specialists within the network by your primary care physician. These plans are cheaper than most other types of insurance plans. Except in an emergency, the policy does not cover services obtained from a provider outside of its network. A PPO plan, on the other hand, allows you to get healthcare services from both in-network and out-of-network providers without requiring a referral. Given the flexibility they provide, these plans can be costly.
The following are the cheapest health insurance plans in Ohio for each type of policy:
- Cheapest HMO Silver Plan: Ambetter Balanced Care 29, provided by Ambetter from Buckeye Health, is the cheapest HMO Silver Plan, costing an average of $355 per month for a 40-year-old.
- Cheapest PPO Silver Plan: AultCare Silver 6850 Select No Pediatric Dental, offered by AultCare Insurance Company, is the most affordable PPO Silver plan, costing an average of $465 a month for a 40-year-old.
Cheapest Plan in Ohio With an HSA
In Ohio, several health insurance plans include an HSA or Health Savings Account. These are suitable for healthy people who rarely need to visit the doctor. You'll pay less for these plans and be able to contribute more pre-tax contributions for medical benefits. If you don't utilize the money for medical bills, it will remain in your savings.
The cheapest plans with a Health Savings Account (HSA) in Ohio are:
- Cheapest HSA Expanded Bronze Plan: Ambetter Essential Care 2 HSA provided by Ambetter from Buckeye Health. This HMO plan costs an average of $299 per month for a 40-year-old male.
- Cheapest HSA Silver Plan: Market HMO 4000 HSA - Dayton by MedMutual. This HMO plan is available at an average of $469 per month for a 40-year-old male.
- Cheapest HSA Gold Plan: AultCare Gold 2500 No Pediatric Dental by AultCare Insurance Company. This PPO plan is available for $665 per month for a 40-year-old man.
- Cheapest HSA Platinum Plan: AultCare Platinum 1550 Health Savings 500 No Pediatric Dental by AultCare Insurance Company. For an average 40-year-old male, this PPO plan costs roughly $749.
It's important to note that HSA plans usually have higher deductibles. You must be prepared to pay a large portion of your savings if you have an unexpected medical expense.
What to Know About Health Insurance in Ohio
MoneyGeek's analysis used private plan data from Ohio's insurance marketplace to determine the sample rates of health insurance. The rates displayed in our data are not always the cheapest available. Residents from low-income households or seniors may be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, both of which are often less expensive than most marketplace plans.
Private Health Insurance on the Ohio Marketplace
The Ohio insurance exchange divides healthcare plans into various metal tiers. Premiums for the Catastrophic and Bronze plans are the lowest, but out-of-pocket maximums are the greatest for these plans. Although the monthly premiums for Gold and Platinum plans are higher, the total cost is often cheaper for people with extensive medical needs.
All health insurance tiers listed below meet the state and federal health insurance standards. They do, however, have advantages and disadvantages.
- Catastrophic: Catastrophic plans are the cheapest of all tiers, but these plans aren't available to everyone. To apply for a Catastrophic insurance plan, you must be under 30 or qualify for a financial hardship exemption. These plans have the lowest monthly costs but provide less coverage and have higher deductibles. The plans, however, cover the same core health benefits as other policies.
- Bronze: Bronze plans are also less expensive than most other metal tiers, but they are more expensive than Catastrophic plans. Although the monthly premiums are low, you are likely to pay more out of pocket when medical care is required. Their annual deductibles can be in the thousands of dollars. They are ideal for people who rarely need to see a doctor and are only looking for 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 anticipate major medical expenses but want to make the most of their insurance plan from the start. The plan will cover at least one essential health benefit before you meet the deductible. These plans have a relatively higher actuarial value than Bronze plans. The actuarial value is the percentage of health insurance costs that a plan covers. While Bronze plans have an actuarial value of no more than 60%, Expanded Bronze plans have an actuarial value of up to 65%.
- Silver: This plan is ideal if you want your insurance to cover more of your regular medical care expenses. Silver plans have moderate premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs than Catastrophic, Bronze and Extended Bronze plans. They are ideal for people eligible for cost-sharing reductions. These plans allow you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year if you have many medical expenses.
- Gold: Although Gold plans have higher monthly premiums, they have significantly lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs than Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze or Silver plans. The plan is ideal for people who need medical treatment on a regular basis and are willing to pay higher premiums to cover most of the expenses.
- Platinum: Platinum plans are the most expensive. They come with the highest monthly premiums and the lowest deductibles of all metal tiers. The plan is ideal for people who frequently have high medical expenses and want to have most of those covered.
You may be eligible for even lower rates or more coverage than the rates shown in MoneyGeek's study. Your family's income level has a significant impact on the insurance premiums. You are eligible for premium tax credits if your monthly family income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. These tax credits are available to a two-person household earning between $17,420 and $69,680 per year in Ohio. You can learn more using the HealthCare.gov calculator.
The period during which you can enroll in a new health insurance plan through the exchange is called open enrollment. Although it usually occurs between November and December, the government has extended the enrollment period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Life events, such as getting married, losing your health insurance, having a baby or moving can make you eligible for a special enrollment period. Job-based insurance plans can have different enrollment periods. For Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), there’s no specific enrollment period.
If your family income is between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty line, you are eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSR) through a Silver plan. Those who qualify for these discounts may be able to obtain Gold plan coverage for the price of a Silver plan. These reductions can lower your deductible, copayments or coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums. In 2021, a two-person household earning $24,040–43,550 in Ohio may be eligible for these lower rates.
Medicaid in Ohio
Medicaid is free and is the cheapest option for eligible residents. Ohio is a Medicaid expansion state. This means that if your household income is less than 138% of the federal poverty line, you can qualify for free Medicaid based on your income alone.
Medicare in Ohio
Residents of Ohio aged 65 and up, as well as younger persons with a disability or illness, may be eligible for Medicare, a federal healthcare program. In contrast to Medicaid, which is free, you may have to pay for certain coverages of a Medicare plan. However, when compared to a private insurance plan, Medicare is much less expensive.
Medicare is divided into three parts for covering specific services:
- Part A: Known as hospital insurance, Part A covers expenses related to hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and some home health care services.
- Part B: This is your medical insurance, and it covers expenses for certain doctors' services, outpatient treatment, medical supplies and preventive care services.
- Part D: This covers your prescription medicines, as well as many necessary vaccines. Prescription drug insurance is another name for it.
Expert Tips on Finding the Most Affordable Health Insurance for Families and Individuals in Ohio
- When can I shop for health insurance on the Ohio health insurance exchange?
- How do I take advantage of cost-sharing reductions and tax credits for health insurance in Ohio?
- Outside of plans on the health insurance exchange, where else can I get health insurance in Ohio?
Life and Health Insurance Agent at Wallace & Turner 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 Ohio for you
MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in Ohio 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 Mark Fitzpatrick
- 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.