Colorado’s marketplace offers different metal tier plans with various deductibles, premiums and maximum out-of-pocket limits. The most affordable plans for the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Expanded Bronze tiers are all provided by Denver Health Medical Plan. This plan is an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), the state’s baseline plan type.
If you are looking to balance monthly premiums with quality claims and coverage, MoneyGeek analyzed the best health insurance in Colorado.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Colorado
Cheapest Health Insurance in Colorado by Metal Tier
Elevate Colorado Option Silver by Denver Health Medical Plan, which costs $334 a month, is Colorado's most affordable Silver-tier health insurance.
The price of health insurance varies by metal tier. A more expensive plan typically provides more comprehensive coverage. The cheapest health insurance policies, listed by metal tier, along with their average monthly rates, are as follows:
- Catastrophic: KP Select CO Catastrophic ($200 per month for a 26-year-old)
- Bronze: Bronze Standard Rx Copay ($252 per month)
- Expanded Bronze: Elevate Colorado Option Bronze ($251 per month)
- Silver: Elevate Colorado Option Silver ($334 a month)
- Gold: Elevate Colorado Option Gold ($307 per month)
More costly metal levels (like Gold or Platinum) have more expensive monthly rates but provide greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket maximums, in contrast to plans with lower premiums that only cover basic medical expenses.
The health insurance exchange categorizes policies by metal tiers. The tendency is for plans to cost more in premiums but less in out-of-pocket expenses the more valuable the metal is (for example, Gold is more valuable than Silver, so Gold plan premiums are higher, but MOOP costs are lower).
Buyers who are younger and in better health may choose less expensive metal tiers, whereas those who can afford them or anticipate having higher medical costs may want to choose more costly metals. If you have a limited income, Silver plans offer balanced cost-to-service and the chance to cut your deductibles.
Cheapest Silver Plans in Colorado
At an average monthly rate of $334, the cheapest Silver plan in Colorado is the Elevate Colorado Option Silver policy offered by Denver Health Medical Plan. The top three Silver plans in Colorado with the lowest prices are:
- Elevate Colorado Option Silver from Denver Health Medical Plan: $334 per month
- Silver Standard Rx Copay from Denver Health Medical Plan: $334 per month
- KP Select CO Silver 5000/25 from Kaiser Permanente: $365 per month
Silver plans are popular health insurance options because they provide good coverage with lower deductibles than Bronze plans. Only Silver plans are eligible for cost-sharing reductions, which might lower your out-of-pocket maximum, copay and deductible.
MoneyGeek focuses its recommendations on HMO plans in this section because they are the most accessible type in Colorado.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Colorado
Elevate Colorado Option Gold from Denver Health Medical Plan, which costs $307 per month on average, is Colorado's most affordable Gold plan. The three most budget-friendly Gold plans are:
- Elevate Colorado Option Gold from Denver Health Medical Plan: $307 per month
- Gold Select from Denver Health Medical Plan: $307 per month
- Gold Standard Rx Copay from Denver Health Medical Plan: $322 per month
Gold plans typically have higher deductibles than less expensive policies, which means you will pay less for medical services upfront before your insurance starts to pay. But Gold plans don't provide the cost-sharing discounts that Silver plans do.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Colorado
Denver Health Medical Plan's Bronze Standard Rx Copay plan has an average monthly rate of $252, making it the most affordable Bronze plan in Colorado. Here are the cheapest Bronze plans available in the state:
- Bronze Standard Rx Copay from Denver Health Medical Plan: $252 per month
- Cigna Connect Flex Bronze 9100 from Cigna: $330 per month
- Friday Bronze Basic from Friday Health Plans: $344 per month
Bronze plans feature the highest deductibles but the lowest monthly premiums, so you'll have to pay out of pocket for most of your medical treatment.
Cheapest Expanded Bronze Plans in Colorado
The cheapest Expanded Bronze plan in Colorado is Elevate Colorado Option Bronze from Denver Health Medical Plan, which costs $251 a month. Here are the top three most affordable Expanded Bronze plans in Colorado:
- Elevate Colorado Option Bronze from Denver Health Medical Plan: $251 per month
- Bronze HDHP from Denver Health Medical Plan: $254 per month
- KP Select CO Bronze 8500/50 from Kaiser Permanente: $293 per month
Expanded Bronze plans often cover visits to the doctor and one major medical expense before you reach your deductible, placing it between Bronze and Silver policies. A copayment is required, though.
Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in Colorado
Kaiser Permanente’s KP Select CO Catastrophic is the cheapest Catastrophic plan, with an average of $200 per month for a 26-year-old buyer. The three cheapest Catastrophic plans are:
- KP Select CO Catastrophic from Kaiser Permanente ($200 per month)
- Anthem Catastrophic Pathway Essentials X HMO 9100 from Anthem (BCBS) ($209 per month)
- Friday Catastrophic from Friday Health Plans ($219 per month)
To qualify for Catastrophic plans, you must be under 30 or have an affordability exemption. However, note that although the monthly premiums are low, you will have to pay for most medical services before the plan pays for anything.
If you qualify for premium tax credits, you may also be eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) on Silver plans. Although your premium amounts are unaffected by CSRs, they make it possible for your health insurance provider to cover a more significant portion of your medical costs, which lowers your deductible, copay and out-of-pocket maximum.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Colorado by Plan Type
The most popular kind of insurance plan in Colorado is an HMO. A different type, called an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan, is also available.
MoneyGeek finds that the least expensive health insurance in Colorado offered by an EPO is:
- Cigna Connect Flex Silver 5500 from Cigna ($410 per month)
If you are okay with paying a little more, an EPO plan gives you more flexibility when choosing physicians and scheduling appointments with specialists without a referral.
The two primary types of health insurance plans in Colorado are HMO (the most common) and EPO.
- HMO: HMOs are the least flexible but usually the least expensive plans. Except in emergencies, policyholders must seek medical attention from clinics and providers in their network. Additionally, a primary care physician is required to refer patients to specialists.
- EPO: Like HMOs, EPO plans require you to obtain medical services from in-network providers. The difference is that EPOs usually have more extensive provider networks and might not need referrals to see a specialist.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Colorado by County
Not all plan types are available statewide, so you may not have access to a particular plan in your location. Rates vary across Colorado, so the most affordable plan in one county might be more expensive in another.
You can consult the chart below to find Silver plan types available in your county.
Health Insurance Costs in Colorado by Age and Metal Tier
Metal tier and age are some of the factors affecting health insurance costs. The list below illustrates how metal level influences the average monthly premium for a 40-year-old in Colorado:
- Catastrophic: $225 per month (for a 26-year-old)
- Bronze: $334 per month
- Expanded Bronze: $352 per month
- Silver: $442 per month
- Gold: $435 per month
Although more valuable metal tiers lower your deductible, their monthly premiums are more expensive.
As a policyholder matures, costs tend to rise. For instance, a Silver plan in Colorado typically costs $316 a month for teenagers while costing $659 for seniors.
What to Know About Colorado Health Insurance
MoneyGeek used information from private health insurance policies to determine Colorado’s most affordable health insurance. During the open enrollment period, customers can browse these plans and choose the one that best fits their coverage needs.
Coloradans can also see if they qualify for Medicaid and Medicare, which are less expensive government-sponsored health insurance plans. Those with lower incomes can get Medicaid, while older adults or people with disabilities can access Medicare.
Private Health Insurance in the Colorado Marketplace
Private insurance plan open enrollment typically runs from November 1 to January 15 each year. This time frame is the window of opportunity for customers to purchase health insurance through the marketplace.
The deadline to sign up for coverage that starts on January 1 is December 15. Early registration provides additional time to modify your plan before the enrollment period has passed.
In addition to the open enrollment period, eligible Colorado residents may acquire private health insurance during a special enrollment period.
Events like marriage, moving, loss of income, childbirth and other occurrences determine eligibility for special enrollment. Typically, you have 60 days before or after the incident to enroll in or change your health insurance.
Medicaid in Colorado
You can obtain affordable health insurance in Colorado by seeing if you qualify for government programs.
You immediately qualify for Medicaid if your income is less than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. That's because Colorado is a Medicaid expansion state; therefore, the only factor for eligibility is your income level. Medicaid is your cheapest choice if you fulfill this requirement because it's free.
Medicare in Colorado
Medicare is a government-run health care program you should look into if you think you qualify. To be eligible, you must be 65 years or older or have a qualifying sickness or disability. Unlike Medicaid, some of the coverage under Medicare involves payment. However, it is still cheaper for health insurance in Colorado compared to buying a private plan through the marketplace exchange.
There are three components to Medicare coverage:
- Part A: Also known as hospital insurance, it covers skilled nursing facility care, home care, hospice care and inpatient stays.
- Part B: Commonly known as medical insurance, this covers medical supplies, outpatient care, some doctor's services and preventative services.
- Part D: This component covers prescription medications, prescribed shots and vaccinations.
Colorado Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
MoneyGeek answers the most frequently asked questions about affordable health insurance in Colorado to help clear up any concerns about the price and availability of different plan types.
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