In addition to Silver plans, Arkansas also offers other metal tiers with various rates, deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket caps. For all Bronze, Expanded Bronze and Gold plans, Ambetter provides the most affordable plans in the Natural State.
If you are looking to balance monthly premiums with quality claims and coverage, MoneyGeek analyzed the best health insurance in Arkansas.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Arkansas
Cheapest Health Insurance in Arkansas by Metal Tier
The CMS Standard Silver (QualChoice) from Ambetter costs $423 a month, making it the cheapest Silver POS plan for the average Arkansas resident.
The price of health insurance varies by metal tier. A more expensive plan typically provides more comprehensive coverage. For all metal tiers, Ambetter offers the cheapest health insurance. Its most affordable plans for each respective metal tier are included below:
- Bronze: Clear Bronze ($354 per month)
- Expanded Bronze: CMS Standard Expanded Bronze ($373 per month)
- Silver: CMS Standard Silver ($411 per month)
- Gold: CMS Standard Gold ($491 per month)
The higher monthly premiums of Gold and Platinum plans typically feature lower MOOP costs and more coverage. With Bronze and Expanded Bronze plans, you’ll pay less each month, but your coverage will be limited, and you’ll likely pay a high MOOP cost.
Health insurance plans are grouped into metal tiers based on their coverage amount and cost. The more valuable the metal, the higher the premium cost and the coverage amount. For instance, Gold is more valuable than Silver; therefore, the plan tends to have a higher monthly premium, lower MOOP cost and more coverage.
Young buyers who are in better health may want to choose a cheaper metal tier since they won’t need as many medical services as older adults. Those with lower incomes can obtain Silver plans, which balance premium cost, MOOP cost and coverage.
Resource: Learn more about metal tiers
Cheapest Silver Plans in Arkansas
Ambetter provides the cheapest Silver plan in Arkansas, with its CMS Standard Silver (QualChoice) POS plan costing $423 per month, on average. The top three Silver plans in the state with the lowest prices are:
- CMS Standard Silver (QualChoice) from Ambetter: $423 per month
- HA Silver Plan Standardized from Health Advantage: $425 per month
- Elite Silver from Ambetter: $461 per month
Due to their reasonable coverage and lower deductibles than Bronze plans, Silver health insurance policies are very common. Only Silver plans are eligible for cost-sharing reductions, which might lower your copay, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.
MoneyGeek’s recommendations below are all POS plans. While they are not the cheapest plans in Arkansas, POS plans are the most accessible to residents of the state.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Arkansas
The CMS Standard Gold from Ambetter is the most affordable Gold plan in Arkansas, costing roughly $491 per month. The three budget-friendly Gold plans in the Bear State are:
- CMS Standard Gold from Ambetter: $491 per month
- Everyday Gold from Ambetter: $497 per month
- CMS Standard Gold (QualChoiceLife) from Ambetter: $520 per month
Gold plans typically have lower deductibles than less expensive policies, so you will pay less for medical services before your insurance starts to cover the cost. However, Gold plans do not provide the cost-sharing discounts that Silver plans do.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Arkansas
A Clear Bronze plan from Ambetter costs roughly $354 per month, making it the cheapest Bronze plan in Arkansas. A complete list of the most affordable plans in the state includes:
- Clear Bronze from Ambetter: $354 per month
- Clear Bronze + Vision + Adult Dental from Ambetter: $370 per month
- Bronze Plan Standardized from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $372 per month
Bronze plans feature the highest deductibles but the lowest monthly premiums, so you will be responsible for covering the majority of the cost of your health care needs.
Cheapest Expanded Bronze Plans in Arkansas
The least expensive Expanded Bronze plan in Arkansas is the CMS Standard Expanded Bronze plan from Ambetter, which costs roughly $373 per month. In this category, the first three most affordable plans are:
- CMS Standard Expanded Bronze from Ambetter: $373 per month
- Everyday Bronze from Ambetter: $381 per month
- Bronze Plan 3 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $394 per month
Expanded Bronze plans often include one major service and one initial appointment before your deductible is met, falling halfway between Bronze and Silver plans in terms of coverage. However, Expanded Bronze plans typically feature copays.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Arkansas for Those With Low Income
Arkansas residents who have an income below 250% of the FPL and meet certain requirements may qualify for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). These discounts help offset the cost of medical expenses.
Based on your income, MoneyGeek found that the CMS Standard Silver plan from Ambetter is the least expensive plan for low-income people in Arkansas, with the following maximum out-of-pocket cost adjustments:
- Income lower than $20,385 per year: CMS Standard Silver ($1,700 MOOP)
- Income from $28,386 to $27,180 per year: CMS Standard Silver ($3,000 MOOP)
- Income from $27,181 to $47,565 per year: CMS Standard Silver ($7,200 MOOP)
Silver plans are the only ones that qualify for CSRs. These figures are only for an individual; depending on the number of people in your family, these income brackets may change.
Your premium amounts are unaffected by cost-sharing schemes in any manner. Instead, they make it possible for the health insurance provider to cover a larger portion of your medical costs, which lowers your copay, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.
The CMS Standard Silver plan has an average monthly cost of $411 for both standard and low-income plans. The out-of-pocket maximum (MOOP) is where there is a noticeable difference; the standard plan has an average MOOP of $8,900, while the low-income plan (individuals below 150% of the FPL) is only $1,700.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Arkansas by Plan Type
While the Point of Service (POS) plan type is the most popular one in Arkansas, there are other plan types available through the exchange. In the state, alternate forms like the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) may also be found.
The cheapest POS and PPO health insurance providers in Arkansas are:
- POS: CMS Standard Silver (QualChoice) from Ambetter ($423 per month)
- PPO: CMS Standard Silver from Ambetter ($411 per month)
Flexibility is where PPO and POS plans diverge the most. PPOs provide you with the freedom to choose the doctors you want to visit, but this freedom comes at a higher cost. POS plans have lower rates but fewer options.
You can choose between POS and PPO plan options when looking for health insurance in Arkansas.
- POS plans: Costs are reduced if you visit health care providers that are in the plan’s network. Your primary care physician must provide a referral before you can see a specialist.
- PPO plans: They involve networks of health insurance providers and contracted medical personnel. Policyholders can receive services from preferred providers at discounted rates.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Arkansas by County
Not all Arkansas residents can access certain plan kinds. The cheapest option in one county might not be the cheapest one in another. The cheapest Silver plan in Arkansas’ largest county, Pulaski, and its smallest county, Calhoun, cost the same monthly.
- Pulaski County: CMS Standard Silver (QualChoice) ($423 per month)
- Calhoun County: CMS Standard Silver (QualChoice) ($423 per month)
Use the table below to look through the Silver plan choices that are offered in your county.
Health Insurance Costs in Arkansas by Age and Metal Tier
Age and metal tier affect the cost of health insurance. A 40-year-old in Arkansas will pay the following average monthly premiums for each respective metal tier:
- Bronze: $367
- Expanded Bronze: $809
- Silver: $904
- Gold: $1,141
As a person ages, health insurance costs increase. For instance, a Silver plan in Arkansas typically costs $1,920 for seniors, $904 for middle-aged adults and $646 for young adults.
What to Know About Arkansas Health Insurance
The cheapest health insurance company in Arkansas was identified using information from private health insurance policies. During the open enrollment period, potential purchasers can browse these plans and choose the one that best fits their needs and coverage requirements.
Checking your eligibility for less expensive government-sponsored health insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare is another option available to Arkansans. Low-income individuals can access Medicaid, whereas seniors or people with disabilities can use Medicare.
Private Health Insurance in the Arkansas Marketplace
Residents in Arkansas can obtain private health insurance during open enrollment from November 1 to January 15 each year. This timeline is allotted for customers to purchase health insurance through the marketplace.
Early registration provides you with additional time to modify your plan before the term has passed. To receive coverage on January 1, 2024, borrowers should sign up by December 15, 2023.
A special enrollment period is available to qualified Arkansas residents, where they may also buy private health insurance.
Events like getting married, giving birth, losing your job and other situations determine your eligibility for special enrollment. To apply for or make changes to your health insurance, you normally have up to 60 days before or after the event.
What Are Health Insurance Metal Tiers?
Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver and Gold are the different metal tiers that make up Arkansas' health insurance coverage.
- Bronze: Larger deductibles with lower premiums. These plans work best for those who are generally in good health and who plan on seeing a doctor and a specialist less frequently.
- Expanded Bronze: Cost-sharing is marginally higher than in Bronze plans, although it is still lower than with Silver plans.
- Silver: The most preferred choice with reasonable rates and MOOP expenses. You can reduce your co-insurance, copay and deductible through cost-sharing reductions.
- Gold: Premiums are higher than those for Silver and Bronze plans, but frequent service will result in lower out-of-pocket costs.
The monthly premium and deductible are smaller and higher, respectively, depending on how valuable the metal is.
Medicaid in Arkansas
Medicaid is a government health insurance program that offers protection to Arkansas residents who qualify. In Arkansas, if your income falls below 138% of the FPL, you can qualify for Medicaid.
Medicare in Arkansas
Another excellent choice for coverage is Medicare. Arkansas residents who are 65 or older, as well as those with qualifying illnesses, are eligible for Medicare.
Medicare is divided into three parts:
- Part A: Pays for some home health care services, hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care and hospice care.
- Part B: Pays for outpatient care, professional services, preventive services and medical supplies.
- Part D: Reimburses costs associated with the acquisition of prescription medications and immunizations.
You will have to pay for some of the coverage, but Medicare still works out to be a less expensive alternative for health insurance.
Arkansas Health Insurance FAQs
Concerns about the price and accessibility of various health insurance plans in Arkansas are common. MoneyGeek answered the most frequently asked questions about the topic below to help you learn more.
About Mark Fitzpatrick
- HealthCare.gov. "Health Plan Categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum." Accessed January 12, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Special Enrollment Period." Accessed January 12, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Federal poverty level (FPL)." Accessed January 12, 2023.