Everyone needs insurance, but not everyone is eligible to enroll through the government or their employer. Fortunately, people who don’t have other options for health coverage can find a plan on the Virginia insurance exchange.
It can be challenging to navigate your healthcare exchange options and find a plan that combines adequate coverage with affordable premiums. Keep in mind that cheaper plans tend to come with higher deductibles and more out-of-pocket expenses, which means less coverage for your medical expenses.
To help you find the right insurance policy for your needs, MoneyGeek reviewed all coverage options and identified the cheapest policies based on your age and plan type. Our data is based on the plans available through the exchange, meaning you may find a better fit through your employer, your spouse’s employer, or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia by Metal Tier
Plans from the Virginia insurance exchange are categorized into six metal tiers, in order of lowest premiums to highest premiums: Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. While monthly premiums from low-tier plans are less expensive than high-tier plans, they have higher out-of-pocket costs and deductibles, meaning you’ll have to pay more if you need medical care.
The average cost for a monthly premium for each metal tier in Virginia is:
- Catastrophic: $293
- Bronze: $375
- Expanded Bronze: $391
- Silver: $490
- Gold: $492
- Platinum: $527
These averages reflect coverage for a 40-year-old male for all types of plans available in Virginia, including HMO, EPO, POS and PPP plans. HMOs are the most common plan type in the state.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia by Metal Tier
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- Metal TierPlanCompanyMonthly CostOOP Max
- CatastrophicBlueChoice HMO Young Adult 8550CareFirst BlueChoice$238$8,550
- BronzeKP VA Bronze 7000/40%/VisionKaiser Permanente$292$8,550
- Expanded BronzeKP VA Bronze 6150/30/20%/HSA/VisionKaiser Permanente$296$7,000
- SilverKP VA Silver 4000/0%/HSA/VisionKaiser Permanente$321$5,250
- GoldKP VA Gold 1400/0%/HSA/VisionKaiser Permanente$384$5,000
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia by Age and Metal Tier
Age can have a sizable impact on your monthly health insurance premiums. For example, a 26-year-old purchasing a Silver-tier plan from Kaiser Permanente pays an average of $257 per month, while a 60-year-old purchasing the same plan pays $682.
Health Insurance Costs in Virginia by Age and Metal Tier
Use the table below to compare average costs for different plan tiers and ages. For more detailed information about which plan might be right for you, take a look at our guide to health insurance in Virginia.
Healthcare costs increase as you age. While a lower-tier plan — like Bronze — can save you money on your insurance costs, your deductible will be higher, meaning you’ll pay more out-of-pocket for your medical expenses, which also tend to be higher the older you are.
The prices listed in this article are based on sample insurance quotes and don’t account for influential factors, like income. Some health plans in the Virginia exchange may be cheaper for older citizens thanks to tax premiums and other laws and regulations. Getting a custom quote from each provider is the best way to know how much you can expect to pay for insurance.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia by Age And Metal Tier
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- PlanCompanyMonthly Rate
- CatastrophicHMOCareFirst BlueChoice$170
- CatastrophicHMOKaiser Permanente$207
- CatastrophicHMOAnthem HealthKeepers$210
- CatastrophicEPOOscar Insurance Company$240
- BronzeHMOKaiser Permanente$209
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The Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia by County
Premiums can vary depending on where you live in the state. Virginia’s 133 counties are broken up into 12 rating areas, and each rating area calculates insurance costs a little differently.
Fairfax is the largest county in the state. There, the most affordable Silver plan is the KP VA Silver 4000 plan from Kaiser Permanente at $321 per month. Use the table below to find the cheapest plans in Virginia for your county for all metal tiers.
Plans are for a sample 40-year-old male in Virginia purchasing a health plan in each county.
Cheapest Health Insurance Plans in Virginia by County
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- Metal TierCompanyCheapest PlanMonthly Premium
- GilesCatastrophicAnthem HealthKeepersAnthem HealthKeepers Catastrophic X 8550$324
- MontgomeryCatastrophicAnthem HealthKeepersAnthem HealthKeepers Catastrophic X 8550$324
- PulaskiCatastrophicAnthem HealthKeepersAnthem HealthKeepers Catastrophic X 8550$324
- Radford CityCatastrophicAnthem HealthKeepersAnthem HealthKeepers Catastrophic X 8550$324
- AlbemarleCatastrophicAnthem HealthKeepersAnthem HealthKeepers Catastrophic X 8550$301
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia With High Out-of-Pocket Maxes
There are some instances where you could benefit from a plan with a low premium and high out-of-pocket maximum. This option allows young people who don’t expect extensive medical expenses to save on their monthly premiums. However, keep in mind that if you do sign up for one of these plans and have a medical emergency, you’ll pay more for your healthcare than someone with a low out-of-pocket-maximum plan.
MoneyGeek reviewed plans with an out-of-pocket cost of $8,250 or more — what we consider high — to find the most affordable option. According to our research, the cheapest available plan with high out-of-pocket expenses in Virginia is the BlueChoice HMO Young Adult 8550 from CareFirst BlueChoice. On average, this plan costs $190 per month for a 26-year-old.
Note that the BlueChoice HMO Young Adult 8550 plan is the cheapest available policy because it is in the Catastrophic tier, meaning that this plan only protects you in worst-case scenarios, like getting seriously injured or sick. Catastrophic plans are only available to people under 30 or those who have a hardship exemption.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Virginia With Low Out-of-Pocket Maximums
For some people, choosing a more expensive, high-tier plan can save them money in the long run. High-tier plans can be particularly beneficial to people who know they’ll have significant medical expenses in the next year. If you purchase one of these plans, you’ll pay high premiums but low medical costs since you’ll reach your out-of-pocket maximums relatively quickly. Once you reach your maximum, your insurance company covers most of your medical fees.
MoneyGeek reviewed the plans with an out-of-pocket cost of $4,250 or less to find the most affordable option. According to our research, the cheapest available plan with low out-of-pocket expenses in Virginia is the KP VA Platinum 500/20/Vision policy from Kaiser Permanente. This plan includes a $2,500 out-of-pocket maximum and costs $447 per month for the average 40-year-old.
The most affordable plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum in Virginia is the KP VA Platinum 500/20/Vision plan offered by Kaiser Permanente. As a Platinum-tier plan, it charges higher premiums than lower-tier Bronze or Silver plans. However, keep in mind that a Platinum policy could save money for people who expect significant medical expenses in the next year.
Cheapest HMO/EPO/PPO/POS Health Insurance Plan in Virginia
Your healthcare needs and preferences can help you decide what type of healthcare plan to purchase. Most Virginia insurance exchange plans are HMO policies, but there are other types of coverages also available. EPO, PPO and POS policies can also be obtained through the exchange and offer different types of coverage than a standard HMO.
HMO plans typically require referrals to see a specialist and only offer coverage through specific doctors that make up your plan’s network. An EPO policy only offers coverage in-network, but it doesn’t always require referrals to see a specialist. A PPO policy doesn’t require referrals and tends to have a wider network than an HMO. A POS allows both in- and out-of-network coverage, but costs are higher for out-of-network providers.
- Cheapest HMO Silver Plan: KP VA Silver 4000/0%/HSA/Vision provided by Kaiser Permanente at $321 per month
- Cheapest PPO Silver Plan: BluePreferred PPO HSA/HRA 2400 80%/60% from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for $470 per month
- Cheapest EPO Silver Plan: Cigna Connect 6500 offered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company at $463 per month
All rates above are for a 40-year-old male sample profile.
Cheapest Plan in Virginia With an HSA
Some people may find that a high-deductible plan is a worthwhile option if their policy includes a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA allows you to set aside pre-tax money for medical expenses like deductibles and copays, which can help lessen the financial burden of a high-deductible plan. Because these plans do feature high deductibles, the only downside is that you may have to pay out of your savings if you have any significant medical costs.
- Cheapest HSA Expanded Bronze Plan: KP VA Bronze 6150/30/20%/HSA/Vision from Kaiser Permanente for $296 per month
- Cheapest HSA Silver Plan: KP VA Silver 4000/0%/HSA/Vision from Kaiser Permanente for $321 per month
- Cheapest HSA Gold Plan: KP VA Gold 1400/0%/HSA/Vision from Kaiser Permanente for $384 per month
All premiums are for a 40-year-old male sample profile.
What to Know About Health Insurance in Virginia
MoneyGeek analyzed private plan data from the Virginia insurance marketplace to determine the average rates included in this article, but every person’s situation is unique. You may find cheaper or more expensive plans than the rates reported here when you apply for coverage through the state insurance exchange. Virginia residents that are older or fall below specific income thresholds may qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, both of which are likely to be more affordable than the plans available through the insurance exchange.
Private Health Insurance on the Virginia Marketplace
Metal-tier health insurance plans all meet state and federal health insurance requirements, but they each have their pros and cons.
- Catastrophic: Catastrophic plans offer the lowest possible benefits, with less coverage, higher deductibles and higher out-of-pocket costs. They are only available to people who are under 30 or facing economic hardship. These policies don’t offer much in the way of coverage, but the cost is extremely low. The plan also provides enough coverage to prevent people from being left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt in a worst-case scenario.
- Bronze: Bronze plans offer more benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs than Catastrophic plans. They are excellent for people who rarely need to see a doctor and are looking for a cheap policy to protect them in an emergency. However, they still have very high out-of-pocket expenses that people need to be aware of before choosing this coverage.
- Expanded Bronze: The Expanded Bronze plan covers more than the Bronze plan and has slightly lower out-of-pocket costs. It’s more expensive than Bronze or Catastrophic policies but less expensive than all other available plans on the marketplace.
- Silver: Silver plans are the midway point between Catastrophic coverage and Platinum coverage. They have lower out-of-pocket costs than Catastrophic, Bronze and Extended Bronze policies but higher monthly premiums to compensate for increased coverage.
- Gold: Gold plans have significantly lower deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses than the plans mentioned above but are also more expensive than lower-tier options. If you know you’ll need major medical coverage in the next year — for example, for a pregnancy or surgical procedure — you may save money overall by choosing a Gold plan.
- Platinum: Platinum plans have the lowest out-of-pocket costs and the highest monthly premiums of all tiers in the Virginia insurance exchange. People with chronic illnesses or who know they’ll need extensive medical care in the next year may find that a Platinum plan best covers their expenses.
Depending on your income level, you may be eligible for low-income health insurance in Virginia that’s more affordable than the plans available through the insurance exchange. Virginia residents who earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level may be eligible for premium tax credits. Assuming you live in a two-person household in Virginia, that means you could qualify for lower rates if you earn $17,420–$69,680 per year.
Open enrollment is the time of year when you can sign up for a new plan or change your coverage. The open enrollment period for the Virginia insurance marketplace is typically between November and December. However, this period can be subject to change. For example, open enrollment dates were expanded due to COVID-19. Special enrollment periods also allow you to change coverage after certain life events, like losing health coverage, getting married, moving and having a baby.
Suppose your income is between 138% and 250% of the federal poverty level, or $24,040–$43,550 for a two-person household. In that case, you may be eligible for cost-sharing reductions if you purchase a Silver plan. These reductions can lower your deductible, copayments or coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. You may even be able to buy Gold plan coverage at Silver plan rates if you qualify for these reductions.
Medicaid in Virginia
While the Virginia insurance exchange does have multiple options available for people who need low-cost insurance, many people in the state are eligible for Medicaid, which is free. Virginia is one of several states that adopted Medicaid expansion, meaning many people are eligible for Medicaid based on their income alone. People living in expansion states who earn below 138% of the federal poverty level qualify for Medicaid.
Medicare in Virginia
Virginia residents who are 65 or older or have a qualifying disability or illness may qualify for Medicare. Medicare is another benefit offered through the government, but unlike Medicaid, coverage is not entirely free. People on Medicare still pay insurance premiums, but the cost of a Medicare plan is relatively affordable, especially compared to a policy through a private insurer.
Medicare breaks down into three parts:
- Part A: This is your hospital insurance, which covers hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health care services.
- Part B: This is your medical insurance, which covers some doctors' visits, outpatient care, necessary medical supplies and preventive services.
- Part D: This is your prescription drug benefit, which covers vaccines and other prescription drugs.
There are limitations to all of these coverages offered through Medicare, so be sure to review your policy before signing up for benefits.
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 Virginia for you
MoneyGeek collected plans and premiums for health insurance in Virginia 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 MoneyGeek Team
- Healthcare.gov. "Catastrophic Health Plans." Accessed May 26, 2021.
- Healthcare.gov. "How HSAs work with HDHPs." Accessed May 26, 2021.
- Healthcare.gov. "Income levels & savings." Accessed May 26, 2021.
- Medicare.gov. "What’s Medicare?." Accessed May 26, 2021.