Kaiser Permanente has the cheapest Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans in the state, while Blue Cross Blue Shield has the most affordable PPO plans. The baseline plan types in Maryland are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). When selecting a policy, you can choose between metal tiers offering variable premiums, deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) charges.
If you are looking to balance monthly premiums with quality claims and coverage, MoneyGeek analyzed the best health insurance in Maryland.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Maryland
Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by Metal Tier
With a monthly rate of $331, Kaiser Permanente's KP MD Silver Virtual Forward 4000 is the cheapest Silver plan for the average Marylander.
The cost of health insurance varies according to metal tier. A more expensive plan will usually offer more extensive coverage. The following are the cheapest health insurance plans for each metal tier:
- Catastrophic: BlueChoice HMO Young Adult $9,100 ($119 per month for a 26-year-old)
- Bronze: KP MD Bronze 7500/40%/Vision ($241 per month)
- Silver: KP MD Silver Virtual Forward 4000 ($331 per month)
- Gold: KP MD Gold Virtual Forward 2000 ($322 per month)
- Platinum: KP MD Platinum 0/15/Vision ($403 per month)
Lower metal tier plans (like Bronze or Silver) have cheaper premiums and higher MOOP costs but only cover the most basic medical costs. Higher metal tier plans (like Gold or Platinum) offer more health care benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs despite higher premiums.
Metal tiers refer to groups of plans on the health insurance exchange. Plans in the precious metal tiers (Gold is more valuable than Silver and Bronze, for example) often have higher premiums but lower maximum out-of-pocket expenses (MOOP).
Plans from lower metal groups may be an option for you if you are young and healthy. A plan with a higher metal tier is a good idea if you can afford it or know you will have many medical expenses. A Silver plan may be the best option for you if money is tight since it is affordable and lets you lower your deductible.
Cheapest Silver Plans in Maryland
Kaiser Permanente offers Maryland's cheapest Silver plan. The average monthly cost of its KP MD Silver Virtual Forward 4000 is $331. The following are the three most affordable Silver plans in Maryland:
- KP MD Silver Virtual Forward 4000 from Kaiser Permanente: $331 per month
- KP MD Silver 3200/20%/HSA/Vision from Kaiser Permanente: $333 month
- UHC Silver Advantage from UnitedHealthcare: $350 per month
The most popular are Silver plans, which have better coverage and lower deductibles than Bronze plans. Silver plans are the only ones that can qualify you for cost-sharing reductions, which could lower your copayments, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.
HMO plans are the most accessible for residents of Maryland, which is why they are the recommendations in this section.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Maryland
Kaiser Permanente's KP MD Gold Virtual Forward 2000 plan is the cheapest Gold plan in Maryland, costing around $322 per month. The three Gold plans with the most affordable prices are:
- KP MD Gold Virtual Forward 2000 from Kaiser Permanente: $322 per month
- KP MD Gold 1750/20/Vision from Kaiser Permanente: $325 per month
- UHC Gold Virtual First from UnitedHealthcare: $328 per month
Generally, the deductibles for Gold plans are lower than those for cheaper plans, so you pay less for health care services before your insurer starts paying. Gold plans, however, don't offer cost-sharing savings like Silver plans.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Maryland
Kaiser Permanente's Bronze 7500/40%/Vision plan in Maryland is the most affordable for Bronze plans, coming in at $241 per month. The three most affordable Bronze plans in Maryland are:
- KP MD Bronze 7500/40%/Vision from Kaiser Permanente: $241 month
- KP MD Bronze 6900/0%/HSA/Vision from Kaiser Permanente: $249 per month
- UHC Bronze Virtual First from UnitedHealthcare: $253 per month
Since Bronze plans offer the lowest monthly premiums and highest deductibles, you will be responsible for paying for more of your medical expenses.
Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in Maryland
The cheapest Catastrophic plan is BlueChoice HMO Young Adult $9,100 from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Its average monthly premium is $119 for a 26-year-old buyer.
There are only two Catastrophic plans available in Maryland. They are:
- BlueChoice HMO Young Adult $9,100 from Blue Cross Blue Shield ($119 per month)
- KP MD Catastrophic 9100/0/Vision from Kaiser Permanente ($139 per month)
With Catastrophic plans, you will be trading low monthly premiums for higher deductibles. Consider these plans if you are below 30 years old or can secure a hardship or affordability exemption.
Cheapest Platinum Plans in Maryland
MoneyGeek evaluated just one Platinum plan in Maryland: Kaiser Permanente's KP MD Platinum 0/15/Vision. It costs $403 each month, on average.
- KP MD Platinum 0/15/Vision from Kaiser Permanente: $403 per month
Platinum plans have the highest monthly premiums and the lowest deductibles of any other plan tier. As a result, you will spend less money out of pocket, and your insurance provider will start paying sooner.
People qualified for premium tax credits may also be eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), which Silver plans offer. CSRs have no bearing on premiums. However, they ease the financial strain that people experience from their health care bills. CSRs can potentially reduce your plan’s out-of-pocket expenses to more manageable levels. Simply put, having CSR means that your health insurance will pay for a larger portion of your medical expenses, lowering your copayments, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by Plan Type
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are most common in Maryland. However, you can also get a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan. The Maryland PPO plan evaluated by MoneyGeek is:
- BluePreferred PPO HSA Silver $3,000 VisionPlus from Blue Cross Blue Shield ($554 per month)
For a slightly higher monthly premium, PPO plans give you the benefits of access to specialists without a referral and to doctors outside of your insurance company's network. If you don’t mind the increased expense, the convenience of a PPO plan may be worth it for you.
In Maryland, you will most commonly find HMO and PPO plans.
HMO: HMO plans are the least flexible but generally the most affordable. Policyholders are required to seek care from in-network providers, except for situations involving medical emergencies. You’ll also need a primary care physician to refer you to specialists.
PPO: In Maryland, PPO plans are the most popular plan type after HMOs. Although they offer a more extensive network than HMOs, they are typically more expensive. You can also see specialists without a referral. It’s a good option with a high degree of flexibility if you’re willing to pay the cost.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Maryland by County
Since not all plans are available everywhere in Maryland, you may be unable to purchase some plans where you live. The cheapest plan in one county may be more expensive in another. It’s important to remember that prices might vary even within individual counties.
Use the table below to find out what Silver plans are available in your county in Maryland.
Health Insurance Costs in Maryland by Age and Metal Tier
Metal tier and age are factors that affect the cost of health insurance in Maryland. See below to learn how the average monthly premium for a 40-year-old in Maryland varies according to metal level:
- Catastrophic: $129 per month (for a 26-year-old)
- Bronze: $353 per month
- Silver: $455 per month
- Gold: $443 per month
- Platinum: $403 per month
Plans belonging to higher metal tiers are typically more expensive, but they offer additional benefits, such as reduced deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
As a policyholder’s age increases, so do their policy costs. In Maryland, a Silver plan for a teenager typically costs $325 per month, while a senior may pay around $884 per month for the same plan.
What to Know About Maryland Health Insurance
To determine the most affordable private health insurance options, MoneyGeek searched the market for pertinent data. During the open enrollment period, individuals can compare the available plans and select the one that best meets their needs.
Maryland residents should determine their eligibility for government-sponsored health insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is for individuals with low income, while Medicare is for older adults and people who are disabled. If you qualify, these plans are likely to be much more affordable.
Private Health Insurance in the Maryland Marketplace
The open enrollment for private health insurance is between November 1 and January 15 every year. Interested buyers can shop for health insurance on the marketplace between these dates.
Note that the enrollment deadline for coverage effective January 1 is December 15. Enrolling early also gives you more time to change your plan before the enrollment period ends.
A special enrollment period is available to residents who qualify for private health insurance outside the open enrollment period. The prerequisites for special enrollment include getting married, having a baby, moving, losing your job and similar life events. Applications and adjustments to health insurance are typically allowed up to 60 days before or after the event.
Medicaid in Maryland
Medicaid is a government program that provides low-cost or free medical care to persons who meet income requirements. A number of variables affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland in addition to income. Children from low-income families, pregnant women and those with disabilities are typically eligible.
Medicare in Maryland
Medicare, another government-sponsored program, is significantly less expensive than marketplace insurance. Those who are at least 65 years old or have a qualifying illness or disability can apply for this plan.
Medicare insurance consists of Parts A, B and D:
- Part A is similar to hospital insurance. It provides coverage for inpatient care, home care, hospice care and services obtained from any facility with qualified nurses on staff.
- Part B serves as medical insurance, paying for outpatient care, preventive services and doctor visits.
- Prescription drugs, immunizations and other vaccinations are all covered under Part D.
Maryland Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
You might want to learn how much health insurance costs and what kinds of policies are offered in Maryland. MoneyGeek provides quick responses to the following commonly asked questions.
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