Cheapest Health Insurance in California (2024 Plans)


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ByMark Fitzpatrick
Edited byJonathan Ramos
ByMark Fitzpatrick
Edited byJonathan Ramos

Updated: May 22, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Premiums and out-of-pocket costs fluctuate across metal tiers; in California, Valley Health offers the most affordable Bronze, while LA Care provides the least expensive Silver, Gold and Platinum plans.

If you are looking to balance monthly premiums with quality claims and coverage, MoneyGeek analyzed the best health insurance in California.

MoneyGeek Logo IconCheapestHealth InsuranceCalifornia
2024

Why Trust MoneyGeek? We downloaded plan data for California directly from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Plan data was updated with the CMS exchange data released in October, the latest available data for the 2024 enrollment period.

49Plans Analyzed
 
24Providers Compared

Cheapest Health Insurance in California by Metal Tier

Silver plans are the most affordable health plan options. The cheapest plan in California is the Silver 70 HMO provided by LA Care, which stands out for its monthly rate of $346. Those looking to minimize their monthly expenses can consider Bronze plans, which offer lower premiums at the expense of higher out-of-pocket costs.

Health insurance premiums vary depending on the metal tier selected. Higher tiers like Gold and Platinum typically come with higher monthly costs but offer substantial reductions in out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays.

Here are the most affordable health insurance plans from each metal tier:

  • Catastrophic: Minimum Coverage Ambetter HMO from Health Net ($203)
  • Bronze: Valley Health Bronze 60 HMO ($282)
  • Silver: Silver 70 HMO by LA Care ($346)
  • Gold: Gold 80 HMO by LA Care ($372)
  • Platinum: Platinum 90 HMO by LA Care ($424)

For those searching for cheap health insurance options or the most cost-effective plans within each tier, these choices provide a starting point. Remember, the most affordable plan may not always be the best fit for your needs, so consider all factors, including coverage, network and out-of-pocket expenses.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Age:
Age:40
BronzePlanValley Health Bronze 60 HMOCompanyValley HealthMonthly Cost$282Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100
SilverPlanSilver 70 HMOCompanyLA CareMonthly Cost$346Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100
GoldPlanGold 80 HMOCompanyLA CareMonthly Cost$372Maximum Out-of-Pocket$8,700
PlatinumPlanPlatinum 90 HMOCompanyLA CareMonthly Cost$424Maximum Out-of-Pocket$4,500
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WHAT ARE METAL TIERS?

In California's health insurance marketplace, consumers choose from Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers, each reflecting coverage levels and cost-sharing. Bronze plans offer low premiums but higher out-of-pocket expenses, suitable for those prioritizing lower monthly costs. Silver plans strike a balance with potential cost-sharing reductions for eligible individuals. Gold plans feature higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs, which is ideal for frequent health care users. Platinum plans have the highest premiums but the lowest out-of-pocket costs, preferred by those needing extensive medical care. When selecting a tier, it's crucial to consider the trade-offs between premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Cheapest Silver Plans in California

The most affordable Silver tier health plan in California is the Silver 70 HMO offered by LA Care, with a monthly cost of only $346. Affordable health care is within reach for Californians, and to highlight that, here are the three cheapest Silver plans:

  • Silver 70 HMO from LA Care ($346 per month)
  • Inland Empire Health Plan Silver 70 HMO from Inland Empire Health Plan ($385 per month)
  • Silver 70 HMO from Anthem Blue Cross ($404 per month)

Suitable for individuals or families looking for a balance between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, Silver plans offer moderate premium rates with reasonable cost sharing. These plans are particularly advantageous for households with modest incomes since they may qualify for cost-sharing reductions, which lowers the amount one pays for deductibles, copayments and co-insurance. This ensures better access to health care services without overwhelming financial strain.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Age:
Age:40
LA CareMonthly Cost$346Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
Inland Empire Health PlanMonthly Cost$385Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanInland Empire Health Plan Silver 70 HMO
Anthem Blue CrossMonthly Cost$404Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
Molina Health CareMonthly Cost$413Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
SHARP Health PlanMonthly Cost$416Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 Premier HMO
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WHAT IS A COST-SHARING REDUCTION?

Cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) are discounts that lower the amount you pay for deductibles, copayments and co-insurance on Silver plans, available to those earning between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level. CSRs vary by income; there are greater reductions for lower incomes. For example, without CSRs, the maximum out-of-pocket cost might be $7,900, but with the highest level of CSRs, that number could drop to $2,800, significantly reducing financial risk and health care expenses.

Cheapest Gold Plans in California

The most affordable option in the Gold tier in California is the Gold 80 HMO offered by LA Care at a monthly cost of $372. The three most affordable Gold plans in California are:

  • Gold 80 HMO from LA Care ($372 per month)
  • Gold 80 HMO from Molina Health Care ($453 per month)
  • Inland Empire Health Plan Gold 80 HMO from Inland Empire Health Plan ($509 per month)

Gold plans are ideal for individuals who expect a high level of medical care throughout the year. These plans typically offer lower out-of-pocket costs when accessing health care services. Customers who choose Gold plans may pay higher monthly premiums, but they benefit from lower prices when they receive medical treatment.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Age:
Age:40
LA CareMonthly Cost$372Maximum Out-of-Pocket$8,700PlanGold 80 HMO
Molina Health CareMonthly Cost$453Maximum Out-of-Pocket$8,700PlanGold 80 HMO
Inland Empire Health PlanMonthly Cost$509Maximum Out-of-Pocket$8,700PlanInland Empire Health Plan Gold 80 HMO
Health NetMonthly Cost$510Maximum Out-of-Pocket$8,700PlanGold 80 Ambetter HMO
SHARP Health PlanMonthly Cost$513Maximum Out-of-Pocket$8,700PlanGold 80 Premier HMO

Cheapest Bronze Plans in California

The Valley Health Bronze 60 HMO is the cheapest Bronze tier health plan in California, offered by Valley Health at a monthly cost of $282. The three most affordable Bronze health plans in California are:

  • Valley Health Bronze 60 HMO from Valley Health ($282 per month)
  • Bronze 60 HMO from LA Care ($290 per month)
  • Bronze 60 Ambetter HMO from Health Net ($320 per month)

Bronze plans are designed for customers who prefer lower monthly premiums and don't expect to need much health care throughout the year. They are suitable for individuals who want basic coverage and protection against high-cost events. Bronze plans often have higher out-of-pocket costs when services are used, but they ensure coverage for essential health benefits.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Age:
Age:40
Valley HealthMonthly Cost$282Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanValley Health Bronze 60 HMO
LA CareMonthly Cost$290Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanBronze 60 HMO
Health NetMonthly Cost$321Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanBronze 60 Ambetter HMO
Valley HealthMonthly Cost$362Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanBronze 60 HMO
Inland Empire Health PlanMonthly Cost$367Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanInland Empire Health Plan Bronze 60 HMO

Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in California

The most affordable Catastrophic health plan in California is Minimum Coverage Ambetter HMO from Health Net, which costs $202 per month. The three most affordable Catastrophic health plans in California are:

  • Minimum Coverage Ambetter HMO from Health Net ($203 per month)
  • Minimum Coverage HMO from Anthem Blue Cross ($214 per month)
  • Minimum Coverage HMO from LA Care ($214 per month)

Expanded Bronze plans are designed for individuals who want a balance between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. These plans are ideal for those who anticipate needing some health care services but are looking for lower premium costs compared to higher-tier plans. The coverage provides a broad range of essential health benefits with a slightly higher out-of-pocket maximum than Silver plans, catering to those who prefer reduced upfront costs.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Age:
Age:26
Health NetMonthly Cost$203Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,450PlanMinimum Coverage Ambetter HMO
Anthem Blue CrossMonthly Cost$214Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,450PlanMinimum Coverage HMO
LA CareMonthly Cost$214Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,450PlanMinimum Coverage HMO
Valley HealthMonthly Cost$223Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,450PlanMinimum Coverage HMO
Health NetMonthly Cost$249Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,450PlanMinimum Coverage Ambetter PPO

Cheapest Platinum Plans in California

The Platinum 90 HMO from LA Care is the most affordable Platinum tier plan in California, with a monthly cost of $424. The three most competitively priced Platinum health plans in the state are:

  • Platinum 90 HMO from LA Care ($424 per month)
  • Platinum 90 HMO from Molina Health Care ($509 per month)
  • Platinum 90 Premier HMO from SHARP Health Plan ($583 per month)

Platinum plans are designed for customers who anticipate needing frequent medical care and are willing to pay a higher monthly premium in exchange for lower costs when they receive medical treatment. They have the lowest out-of-pocket expenses compared to other tiers, making them ideal for those who want the assurance of more predictable health care spending. These plans are particularly beneficial for individuals with chronic conditions or those who require consistent access to health care services.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
age:
age:40
LA CareMonthly Cost$424Maximum Out-of-Pocket$4,500PlanPlatinum 90 HMO
Molina Health CareMonthly Cost$509Maximum Out-of-Pocket$4,500PlanPlatinum 90 HMO
SHARP Health PlanMonthly Cost$583Maximum Out-of-Pocket$4,500PlanPlatinum 90 Premier HMO
Health NetMonthly Cost$612Maximum Out-of-Pocket$4,500PlanPlatinum 90 Ambetter HMO
SHARP Health PlanMonthly Cost$626Maximum Out-of-Pocket$4,500PlanPlatinum 90 Performance HMO

Cheapest Health Insurance in California by Plan Type

In California, the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is the most popular plan type. Other plan types available include Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. The most affordable HMO health plan in California is the Silver 70 HMO from LA Care.

  • HMO: Silver 70 HMO from LA Care ($346)
  • EPO: Silver 70 EPO from Anthem Blue Cross ($634)
  • PPO: Silver 70 Ambetter PPO from Health Net ($560)

EPO plans limit patients to a specific network of health care providers, offering cost savings compared to PPO plans. On the other hand, PPO plans offer more flexibility as patients can see providers outside the network without needing a referral. HMO plans usually require members to select a primary care physician and obtain referrals for specialist visits, making them cost-effective choices for individuals prioritizing coordinated care within a specific network.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
Age:
Age:40
Plan Type:
Plan Type:HMO
LA CareMonthly Cost$346Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
Inland Empire Health PlanMonthly Cost$385Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanInland Empire Health Plan Silver 70 HMO
Anthem Blue CrossMonthly Cost$404Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
Molina Health CareMonthly Cost$413Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
SHARP Health PlanMonthly Cost$416Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 Premier HMO
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WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLAN TYPES?

The differences between the plan types are:

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

  • Pros: HMOs typically have lower out-of-pocket costs and premiums. They offer a focused network of doctors and facilities that are closely managed to provide coordinated care.
  • Cons: You must choose a primary care physician (PCP) and need referrals to see specialists. Out-of-network care is usually not covered, except for emergencies.

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)

  • Pros: EPO plans provide a moderate amount of freedom to choose health care providers within a network without requiring a PCP or referrals. They often strike a balance between HMOs and PPOs in terms of cost and flexibility.
  • Cons: Out-of-network care is generally not covered except for emergencies, which means you may have fewer options for health care providers than with PPO plans.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

  • Pros: PPOs offer the most flexibility in choosing health care providers and do not require referrals to see specialists. Out-of-network care is often covered, though at a higher cost than in-network care.
  • Cons: These plans typically come with higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The freedom to choose any provider can also lead to less coordinated care than with HMO or EPO plans.

Each plan type has its own unique features, and the best choice for an individual or family will depend on their health care needs, financial situation and preferences for flexibility versus cost.

Cheapest Health Insurance in California by County

Health insurance rates and availability of certain plans vary by county in California. Comparing the most affordable plans in the largest and smallest counties by population shows this variation:

  • Los Angeles: Silver 70 HMO from LA Care ($335)
  • Alpine: Silver 70 HMO from Aetna Health of California Inc. ($509)

The following table shows all available plans in each county in California.

Data filtered by:Results filtered by:
County:
County:Los Angeles
LA CareMonthly Cost$335Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO
LA CareMonthly Cost$335Maximum Out-of-Pocket$9,100PlanSilver 70 HMO

Health Insurance Costs in California by Age and Metal Tier

In California, age significantly impacts health insurance prices across metal tiers. For instance, an 18-year-old with a Silver plan pays approximately $439 per month, whereas a 60-year-old with the same plan pays around $884, resulting in a $445 difference!

Metal tiers determine how you share health care costs with your insurance. A 40-year-old with a Bronze plan pays approximately $514 per month, but opting for a Gold plan increases it to $742, which is a $228 difference.

Health Insurance Costs in California by Age and Metal Tier

What to Know about Health Insurance in California

MoneyGeek broke down all the health insurance options available in California. We explain private insurance plans in the marketplace, which come in different metal levels, like Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. We also cover Medicaid and Medicare. Our goal is to help you understand your choices so you can make smart decisions about your health care.

Private Health Insurance in the California Marketplace

In California, the open enrollment period for private health insurance typically runs from November 1 to January 31 of the following year. During this time, residents can shop for, compare and purchase health insurance plans through the state's health insurance marketplace, Covered California. If you miss the January 31 deadline, you may have to wait until the next open enrollment period to get coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). SEPs are triggered by specific life events such as losing health coverage, getting married, having a baby or moving. If you're eligible, you can enroll or change plans outside the standard open enrollment period.

Medicaid in California

Medicaid is a government-funded health care program that provides coverage to low-income individuals and families. In California, the program is known as Medi-Cal. Eligibility is based on income, age, disability, pregnancy and family status. The program covers many health care services, including doctor visits, hospital care, preventive care, long-term care and mental health services. To qualify, applicants must meet the financial requirements set by state and federal guidelines. In California, the Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to include a larger portion of the population with higher income thresholds.

Medicare in California

Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals aged 65 or older, though it also serves people with certain disabilities or conditions. In California, eligibility for Medicare requires being a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident for at least five continuous years.

Medicare consists of several parts. Part A covers hospital insurance, including inpatient, hospice and home health care services. Part B provides medical insurance, covering physician visits, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services. Part C, known as Medicare Advantage, offers alternative plans provided by private insurers that bundle parts A and B and often include Part D. Part D is prescription drug coverage, which helps cover the cost of medications. Additionally, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policies are sold by private companies to cover gaps in Parts A and B.

MoneyGeek found the best Medicare Advantage Plans in California and the best Medicare Supplement plans in California.

FAQ About Health Insurance in California

When looking for health insurance, you may have questions about cost and availability. MoneyGeek responded to frequently asked questions about cheap private health insurance in California to help you learn more.

What are the downsides of a cheap health insurance plan?

About Mark Fitzpatrick


Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.


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