Montana insurers offer different plan types with varying deductibles, premiums and out-of-pocket maximums. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield offers the cheapest Bronze and Gold plans, and Mountain Health CO-OP has the lowest-cost Catastrophic plan.
MoneyGeek also found the best health insurance in Montana by analyzing providers and plans balance cost and service.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Montana
Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by Metal Tier
Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 by Blue Cross Blue Shield is the most affordable Silver plan in Montana at an average cost of $449 per month. The more valuable the metal tier you select, the higher the monthly rates, but the more coverage you get.
Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, the following are the most affordable plans by tier in Montana:
- Catastrophic: Connect Ind Catastrophic MT by Mountain Health CO-OP ($265)
- Bronze: Blue Focus Bronze POS℠ 705 by Blue Cross Blue Shield ($316)
- Expanded Bronze: Blue Focus Bronze POS℠ 205 by Blue Cross Blue Shield ($329)
- Silver: Plus SG Silver MT by Mountain Health CO-OP ($429)
- Gold: Blue Focus Gold POS℠ 207 by Blue Cross Blue Shield ($497)
Opting for the most affordable health insurance in Montana means you’ll pay high out-of-pocket costs for medical treatments. If you choose a Gold or Silver plan, you will benefit from lower out-of-pocket maximums and comprehensive coverage.
The health insurance exchange classifies health plans by metal tiers, with the most valuable metals offering expensive monthly premiums but low out-of-pocket maximums. Less valuable metals, like Bronze or Expanded Bronze, are suitable for buyers in good health. Opt for Silver plans if you want a balance between costs and coverage.
Resource: Learn more about metal tiers
Cheapest Silver Plans in Montana
Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 by Blue Cross Blue Shield is the most affordable Silver plan in Montana, costing an average of $449 per month.
The following Silver plans in Montana are the most affordable options based on MoneyGeek’s analysis:
- Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $449 per month
- Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 206 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $449 per month
While these two plans cost the same, the 706 plan has a lower maximum out-of-pocket. You can benefit from cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) with Silver plans and significantly lower your deductibles, copayments and co-insurance. These plans balance monthly premiums and health coverage.
While not necessarily the cheapest options, MoneyGeek focuses its recommendations on HMO plans as they are the most accessible for residents of Montana.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Montana
MoneyGeek found that Blue Focus Gold POS℠ 207 by Blue Cross Blue Shield is the cheapest Gold plan in Montana, with an average cost of $497 per month.
Our analysis shows the following plans are the most affordable in Montana:
- Blue Focus Gold POS℠ 207 by Blue Cross Blue Shield: $497 per month
- Plus SG Gold MT by Mountain Health CO-OP: $500 per month
- Plus SG Gold MT HD by Mountain Health CO-OP: $502 per month
Gold plans have more expensive premiums than Silver plans but lower out-of-pocket costs and deductibles. However, you cannot benefit from CSRs with these plans.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Montana
The cheapest Bronze health plan in Montana is Blue Focus Bronze POS℠ 705 from Blue Cross Blue Shield. On average, it has a monthly cost of $316.
MoneyGeek’s research shows the following Bronze plans are the cheapest in Montana:
- Blue Focus Bronze POS℠ 705 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $316 per month
- Navigator Bronze 9100 from PacificSource Health Plans: $401 per month
- Blue Preferred Bronze PPO℠ 701 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $422 per month
Bronze plans usually have the lowest premiums but aren’t the most suitable option if you need significant medical care, as these plans have high out-of-pocket costs.
Cheapest Expanded Bronze Plans in Montana
For Expanded Bronze, Blue Focus Bronze POS℠ 205 by Blue Cross Blue Shield is the cheapest option. The average monthly cost of this plan is $329.
MoneyGeek’s analysis shows the following plans ranked high for affordability in Montana:
- Blue Focus Bronze POS℠ 205 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $329 per month
- Rocky Mountain Ind Bronze Standard MT Expanded from Mountain Health CO-OP: $353 per month
- Rocky Mountain Ind Bronze MT Expanded from Mountain Health CO-OP: $356 per month
Expanded Bronze plans are similar to Bronze plans but offer more coverage and usually cover one major health service.
Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in Montana
The most affordable Catastrophic plan is Connect Ind Catastrophic MT, costing an average of $213 per month for a 26-year-old buyer. Mountain Health CO-OP offers this plan in Montana.
Montana offers two Catastrophic plans:
- Connect Ind Catastrophic MT from Mountain Health CO-OP: $213 per month
- Blue Preferred Security PPO℠ 200 from Blue Cross Blue Shield: $302 per month
Although Catastrophic plans have low monthly premiums, you should opt for them if you only need coverage against emergency illnesses or injuries. However, due to their higher deductibles, these plans won’t suit you if you require frequent medical care.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana for Those With Low Income
You might qualify for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) as a low-income individual if your income is less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). CSRs are subsidies that decrease your out-of-pocket expenses after medical treatment.
Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 is the most affordable option for low-income individuals in Montana. The following are its out-of-pocket adjustments:
- Income lower than $20,385 per year: Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 ($1,700 MOOP)
- Income from $28,386 to $27,180 per year Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 ($3,000 MOOP)
- Income from $27,181 to $47,565 per year Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 ($7,200 MOOP)
However, these numbers vary based on household size, and the rates above are for individuals only. You will only qualify for CSRs with a Silver plan in Montana.
Cost-sharing plans do not lower your monthly premiums. With such plans, the insurance company generally covers a higher percentage of expenses like deductibles, out-of-pocket maximum and copay, which results in lower costs.
For instance, consider the Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 706 plan. Its average cost for standard and low-income individuals is $449 per month. However, if you opt for this plan with an income below 150% of the FPL, you will only pay $1,700 in MOOP costs.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by Plan Type
In Montana, insurance companies most commonly offer Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans. Alternative plan types include Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans.
Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, the following is the cheapest health insurance in Montana for other plan types:
- PPO: Plus SG Silver MT from Mountain Health CO-OP ($429 per month)
The primary difference between HMO and PPO plans is that HMO plans do not permit out-of-network coverage, while PPO plans do. However, PPO plans are generally more expensive than HMO plans.
The most common type of health insurance in Montana is an HMO plan. However, some companies offer PPO plans.
- HMO Plans: These plans usually cost less; however, they require you to stay within your provider network to obtain coverage, except in an emergency. You must also get a referral to see a specialist.
- PPO Plans: PPO plans offer flexibility regarding out-of-network coverage and specialist care. These plans are usually more expensive than HMO plans.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Montana by County
You might not find each plan type everywhere in Montana, and the cheapest plan options may vary based on your location. For example, the cheapest Silver plan in Yellowstone County, the largest county, is the Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 206, which costs $402 per month. In Judith Basin, one of the smaller counties in Montana, the cheapest plan is Blue Focus Silver POS℠ 206, which costs $483 per month.
Health Insurance Costs in Montana by Age and Metal Tier
Your age and chosen metal tier can significantly influence the monthly costs of your health insurance in Montana. MoneyGeek found the following average premiums for each metal tier for a 40-year-old policyholder:
- Bronze: $739
- Catastrophic: $340
- Expanded Bronze: $760
- Silver: $939
- Gold: $1,051
You will pay higher premiums as you age. For instance, Silver plans in Montana cost an average of $752 for young adults. However, the cost increases to $1,994 for seniors.
What to Know About Montana Health Insurance
MoneyGeek identified the most affordable health insurance in Montana using data from private health insurance plans. After considering your coverage needs, you can enroll in these plans during the open enrollment period.
Other government and state-run programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, are also available to qualifying individuals.
Private Health Insurance in the Montana Marketplace
You can purchase a private health plan in Montana for a limited time during the open enrollment period between November 1 and January 15. If you want your policy to be active on January 1, you must enroll by December 15.
Consider signing up for a plan early so you can have enough time to see if it’s suitable for your needs.
A special enrollment period permits you to purchase or modify a plan if you miss the open enrollment period. Situations that make you eligible for special enrollment include changes in residence, loss of income, changes in the number of people in your household and other major life events.
What Are Health Insurance Metal Tiers?
Health insurance plans in Montana are categorized into several metal tiers, as follows:
- Catastrophic: These plans are ideal if you want coverage against illnesses or injuries, as they don’t cover everyday medical expenses. To qualify for Catastrophic plans, you should be under 30 or meet certain conditions.
- Bronze: The best option for individuals who don’t need much medical care. Bronze plans have lower monthly expenses and higher out-of-pocket costs.
- Expanded Bronze: Quite similar to Bronze plans but provide slightly more cost-sharing.
- Silver: Provides a balance between premiums and MOOP costs. You can benefit from cost-sharing reductions that lower your deductibles, copays and co-insurance.
- Gold: Have the highest monthly premiums and are best suited to individuals needing frequent care due to lower out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles.
Medicaid in Montana
Medicaid is a government-run program that provides health insurance coverage to individuals with limited resources and income. Montana is a Medicaid expansion state, which means you might qualify for this program if your income is below 138% of the FPL.
Medicare in Montana
Although Medicare isn’t entirely free, it helps seniors over 65 and others with a qualifying health condition or disability to get health insurance coverage at an affordable cost.
Medicare is divided into the following parts:
- Part A: Pays for hospital stays and covers hospice care and skilled nursing facility stays.
- Part B: Provides coverage for doctor visits and preventive and outpatient medical services.
- Part D: Covers prescription drugs and recommended vaccines.
Montana Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
MoneyGeek answers the following commonly asked questions about health insurance in Montana.
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.
- HealthCare.gov. "Enroll in or change 2023 plans — only with a Special Enrollment Period." Accessed January 12, 2023.