Health insurance costs and out-of-pocket expenses vary from one tier to the next. Our baseline plan type in Kentucky is a Silver HMO plan from WellCare, but there are plans in other metal tiers with different premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. WellCare also offers the cheapest plans for the Gold tier, while CareSource Kentucky Company has the cheapest Bronze plan. Anthem (BCBS) has the lowest average cost for the Catastrophic tier.
If you are looking to balance monthly premiums with quality claims and coverage, MoneyGeek analyzed the best health insurance in Kentucky.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Kentucky
Cheapest Health Insurance in Kentucky by Metal Tier
The cheapest private health insurance in Kentucky for the Silver tier is Clear Silver from WellCare, costing an average of $400 per month. How much you pay for health insurance will vary based on the metal tier. A more expensive plan often features more extensive protection and lower deductibles and MOOPs than plans in lower metal tiers.
In Kentucky, the most affordable health insurance plans include:
- Catastrophic: Anthem Catastrophic Pathway Transition X HMO 9100 from Anthem BCBS ($221 per month for a 26-year-old)
- Bronze: CareSource Marketplace Bronze from CareSource Kentucky Co. ($312 per month)
- Silver: Clear Silver from WellCare ($400 per month)
- Gold: Everyday Gold from WellCare ($448 per month)
Although plans in more valuable tiers like Gold cost more per month, they offer more comprehensive coverage than those with lower monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.
The health insurance marketplace has plans grouped into metal tiers. The more valuable a metal tier is, the higher its plans will cost, and the lower you will pay out of pocket. For instance, plans in the Bronze category will have lower premiums than those in the Gold and Platinum categories.
If you are younger and without the need for frequent medical attention, you may consider less valuable metal tiers. However, if you can afford it or anticipate higher medical expenses, a health insurance plan that offers extensive coverage may be ideal. Silver plans, which offer a balance between cost and coverage, may be more suitable if your earnings are below 250% of the FPL because of the opportunity to lower your deductible through cost-sharing reductions.
Cheapest Silver Plans in Kentucky
For Kentucky residents, Clear Silver from Wellcare is the most affordable Silver health insurance plan. The average monthly premium for this plan is $400.
The top three cheapest Silver plans in the state are:
- Clear Silver from Wellcare: $400 per month
- Anthem Silver Pathway X Transition HMO 4200 for HSA from Anthem (BCBS): $405 per month
- Anthem Silver Pathway X Transition HMO 6500 from Anthem (BCBS): $408 per month
Silver plans offer a better balance between fair costs and more decent coverage than Bronze plans. For eligible buyers, CSRs can also reduce their total costs significantly.
Note that HMO is the most accessible plan type in Kentucky. This is why MoneyGeek focuses its recommendations in this section on HMO plans.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Kentucky
The cheapest health insurance in Kentucky for the Gold tier, at roughly $448 per month, is Everyday Gold from WellCare. The three cheapest Gold plans to consider are:
- Everyday Gold from WellCare: $448 per month
- Complete Gold from WellCare: $469 per month
- Everyday Gold +Vision + Adult Dental from Wellcare: $469 per month
Gold plans cost more than plans in Silver and Bronze tiers, but they have better out-of-pocket maximums and deductible amounts. They are ideal for individuals that frequently need care, but they lack cost-sharing reductions.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Kentucky
A CareSource Marketplace Bronze plan from CareSource Kentucky Co. is the most affordable in Kentucky, costing an average of $312 per month. The following are the top three cheap plans in the state:
- CareSource Marketplace Bronze from CareSource Kentucky Co.: $312 per month
- CareSource Marketplace Bronze First from CareSource Kentucky Co.: $319 per month
- CareSource Marketplace Bronze Dental, Vision, & Fitness from CareSource Kentucky Company: $319 per month
Health insurance buyers who need options with the lowest monthly premium may consider Bronze plans. Since the plans feature high deductibles, you will pay more out of pocket for most medical care needs.
Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in Kentucky
The most affordable Catastrophic health insurance plan in Kentucky is Anthem Catastrophic Pathway Transition X HMO 9100 from Anthem BCBS, costing about $221 per month for a 26-year-old buyer. Other low-premium plans in this tier include:
- Anthem Catastrophic Pathway Transition X HMO 9100 from Anthem BCBS: $221 per month
- Anthem Catastrophic Pathway X HMO 9100 from Anthem BCBS: $243 per month
- CareSource Marketplace Catastrophic from CareSource Kentucky Company: $263 per month
Catastrophic plans are best suited for individuals under 30 years of age and those with a hardship or affordability exemption. They have low monthly costs and high deductibles and can help you protect yourself from emergency illness or injury. However, you will pay most of your routine medical expenses out of pocket.
Cost-sharing reduction (CSR) plans enable you to spend less on your health insurance deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket expenses by allowing your insurance provider to pay a higher percentage of your medical costs.
These plans are available on the health insurance marketplace to alleviate the financial burden of health care costs to buyers who qualify for premium tax credits. You can only get them if you buy a Silver plan.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Kentucky by Plan Type
Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans are the only option we researched in Kentucky. Based on our analysis, the most affordable health insurance in Kentucky for a Silver HMO plan type is Clear Silver from Wellcare at $400 per month.
HMO plans feature lower out-of-pocket costs but have a limited network of providers. Our analysis for Kentucky did not include exclusive provider organization (EPO), point of service (POS) and preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, which offer more flexibility when getting care from out-of-network providers despite costing more.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans have several advantages over other health insurance plan types when it comes to their lower out-of-pocket costs, including lower deductibles, co-insurance and copay costs. They usually limit medical care to a small network of health care providers working in partnership with HMOs. As such, your plan won’t cover out-of-network medical services unless it’s an emergency. Policyholders may need to work or live within an HMO plan’s service area to get covered.
With an HMO plan, you can only get medical care from a specialist after being referred by your primary care provider. The plans focus on wellness and preventative treatment. They are ideal if you are in good health and need a low-budget health insurance option.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Kentucky by County
Health insurance plan availability and costs vary in Kentucky based on your county of residence, implying that the cheapest option will vary depending on your location.
Using the following table to compare average monthly costs for the most affordable Silver plans in Kentucky across different counties can help you determine how rates tend to vary in various locations.
What to Know About Kentucky Health Insurance
To find the cheapest private health insurance in Kentucky, we utilized data from private insurance providers in the state. You can purchase a plan for your needs by comparing the different plan types and coverage levels available in the marketplace during the open enrollment period.
Cheaper government-sponsored health insurance plans are also available in Kentucky for individuals whose earnings fall below the Federal Poverty Level (Medicaid) or senior buyers and those with disabilities (Medicare).
Private Health Insurance in the Kentucky Marketplace
Private health insurance plans are usually available for purchase during open enrollment from November 1 to January 15. You need to enroll before December 15 if you need your coverage to start by January 1 of the following year. Getting your plan early enough allows you to make the necessary adjustments before the period expires.
You will need a qualifying event, such as changing jobs, getting married or losing coverage, to enroll for private insurance outside of the open enrollment period. This happens during a special enrollment period that may span up to 60 days before and after the qualifying event. You can, however, enroll for Medicaid or Medicare at any time of the year.
Medicaid in Kentucky
Medicaid is the most affordable health insurance in Kentucky for eligible individuals because it’s free. Since Kentucky is a Medicaid expansion state, your income level is the only qualifying factor for the free government program. You may also qualify for coverage if you are pregnant or have a disability.
Medicare in Kentucky
Kentucky residents 65 years and older or who have a qualifying illness or disability may be eligible for Medicare, another government-sponsored health insurance program. Medicare policyholders pay some premium for specific coverage, although the rates are still significantly lower than private insurance plans.
Medicare comprises three parts:
- Part A is premium-free and pays the expenses associated with nursing facilities, hospital stays, hospice care and related health care services.
- Part B covers medication, consultation, preventative services and outpatient care. It is the medical insurance component of your plan.
- Part D’s cost varies based on your plan type, and it covers prescription drugs and vaccines.
Kentucky Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
When choosing a cheap health insurance plan in Kentucky, you may have questions about the pricing and availability of different plan types. MoneyGeek answers the frequently asked questions below to help you learn more.
About Mark Fitzpatrick
- HealthCare.gov. "Special Enrollment Period (SEP)." Accessed April 24, 2023.