Health insurance plans in Ohio have different metal tiers that vary in premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. In addition to the cheapest Silver plans, there are also other affordable options such as the Catastrophic plan from MedMutual called Market HMO Young Adult Essentials and the Bronze Simple-Standard from Oscar.
MoneyGeek also found the best health insurance in Ohio by analyzing providers and plans balance cost and service.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Ohio
Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by Metal Tier
SummaCare Silver 6000 with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits is the most affordable plan for the average consumer, costing $414 per month.
Health plans come in several metal tiers. The more valuable metal tiers, such as Gold and Platinum, are more expensive but provide greater coverage. These are Ohio’s cheapest plans per metal type and their respective average monthly premiums:
- Catastrophic: Market HMO Young Adult Essentials - Southern Ohio from MedMutual ($228)
- Bronze: Bronze Simple - Standard from Oscar ($319)
- Expanded Bronze: Market HMO 8000 - CLE-Care from MedMutual ($326)
- Silver: SummaCare Silver 6000 with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits from SummaCare ($414)
- Gold: Gold Classic - Standard from Oscar ($448)
- Platinum: AultCare Platinum 1600 Health Savings 500 No Pediatric Dental from AultCare ($841)
When shopping for cheap health insurance, you must weigh your coverage needs against your budget. More valuable metal tiers (Gold or Platinum) might have higher month-to-month costs, but these also have lower out-of-pocket maximums and offer better coverage. In comparison, plans with cheaper premiums tend to cover only basic health care and will require you to pay more out of pocket when you receive medical care.
The health insurance marketplace offers plans grouped into metal tiers. The more valuable the metal, such as Gold and Platinum, the more expensive the premiums but the lower the out-of-pocket costs. These plans are ideally suited to buyers who require more medical care. But if you’re young and healthy, you can save by purchasing a plan in a less valuable metal tier. We’ve found that Silver plans are a great middle-of-the-road option that balances cost with coverage. With a Silver plan, low-income buyers can even lower their deductibles through cost-sharing reductions.
Resource: Learn more about metal tiers
Cheapest Silver Plans in Ohio
SummaCare Silver 6000 with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits from Oscar is the cheapest Silver Plan in Ohio at $414 per month. Here’s a list of the most affordable Silver plans in the Buckeye State:
- SummaCare Silver 6000 with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits from SummaCare: $414 per month
- Simple Silver - PCP Saver from Oscar: $414 per month
- SummaCare Silver 6000 with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits + Travel Assistance + Adult Vision Exam from SummaCare: $415 per month
Silver plans are very popular because they provide decent coverage at a reasonable cost. Low-income buyers may qualify for cost-sharing reductions that can reduce deductibles. Other metal tiers don’t have this benefit.
The recommendations in the table below are focused on the HMO plan type. It is the most accessible plan in Ohio, even if it's not necessarily the cheapest option.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Ohio
At an average cost of $448 per month, Oscar’s Gold Classic-Standard is the most affordable Gold plan. These are the cheapest Gold plans according to our research:
- Gold Classic-Standard from Oscar: $448 per month
- Clear Gold from Ambetter: $470 per month
- Gold Classic from Oscar: $471 per month
Gold plans tend to cost more than lower-tier plans. But the upside is that you’ll have fewer out-of-pocket costs before your plan kicks in and starts paying for your claims.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Ohio
Our research revealed that Oscar’s Bronze Simple-Standard plan is the cheapest Bronze plan at $319 per month. Low-cost Bronze plans include:
- Bronze Simple-Standard from Oscar: $319 per month
- Market HMO 9100-CLE-Care from MedMutual: $320 per month
- SummaCare Bronze 8000 with SCConnect Network from SummaCare: $322 per month
Bronze plans generally have the lowest rates but the highest deductibles. If you choose to purchase a Bronze plan, you must be prepared to pay out of pocket for a significant portion of your medical care.
Cheapest Expanded Bronze Plans in Ohio
The Market HMO 800-CLE-Care plan from MedMutual is the most affordable Expanded Bronze plan in Ohio, costing around $326 per month. These are the top three cheapest plans:
- Market HMO 800-CLE-Care from MedMutual: $326 per month
- Bronze Simple from Oscar: $331 per month
- Bronze Classic from Oscar: $335 per month
An Expanded Bronze plan is considered the halfway point in terms of coverages and costs between regular Bronze plans and Silver plans. Compared to regular Bronze plans, Expanded Bronze plans have better benefits and lower deductibles. They cover office visits and one major service before you meet your deductible, but there is a copay.
Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in Ohio
The cheapest Catastrophic plan in Ohio is Market HMO Young Adult Essentials-Southern Ohio from MedMutual, priced at $183 per month for a 26-year-old. Here’s a list of the most affordable options if you’re thinking of buying a Catastrophic plan:
- Market HMO Young Adult Essentials-Southern Ohio from MedMutual: $183 per month
- Market HMO Young Adult Essentials-Northern Ohio from MedMutual: $202 per month
- SummaCare Value with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits + Travel Assistance + Adult Vision Exam from SummaCare: $207 per month
With their low monthly premiums, Catastrophic plans are a great way to get protection against worst-case scenarios, such as a serious injury or illness. But these plans have a high deductible, and you’ll end up paying for most routine medical expenses out of pocket.
Cheapest Platinum Plans in Ohio
AultCare Platinum 1600 Health Savings 500 No Pediatric Dental from AultCare is the cheapest Platinum option across Ohio at an average monthly premium of $841. We’ve outlined the most affordable Platinum plans below:
- AultCare Platinum 1600 Health Savings 500 No Pediatric Dental from AultCare: $841 per month
- AultCare Platinum 1600 Health Savings 500 from AultCare: $845 per month
- AultCare Platinum 500 No Pediatric Dental from AultCare: $861 per month
Platinum plans are the most expensive health plans, but you’ll also pay the least out of pocket for medical services.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio for Those With Low Income
If your income is below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), you’ll be eligible for cost-sharing reductions that can lower out-of-pocket costs. This financial assistance is especially beneficial if you need expensive medical treatment.
Based on our study, these are the cheapest plans for low-income Ohio residents:
- Income lower than $20,385 per year (less than 150% of FPL): AultCare Silver 7900 Premier Select No Pediatric Dental ($650 MOOP)
- Income from $28,386 to $27,180 per year (151% to 200% of FPL): AultCare Silver 7900 Premier Select No Pediatric Dental ($1,900 MOOP)
- Income from $27,181 to $47,565 per year (201% to 250% of FPL): AultCare Silver 7900 Premier Select No Pediatric Dental ($7,250 MOOP)
Note that these income brackets are for an individual only and will change depending on your household size. Also, keep in mind that cost-sharing reductions are only available for Silver plans.
Cost-sharing plans don’t make your premiums cheaper. Instead, they allow your insurer to pay a larger portion of your medical expenses. With this benefit, you’ll have lower deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and copayments. For example, an AultCare Silver 7900 Premier Select No Pediatric Dental plan costs $403 per month for all policyholders. But low-income policyholders below 150% of the FPL who are on a cost-sharing plan will only have a MOOP of $650 MOOP compared to a MOOP of $8,700 for those on a standard plan.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by Plan Type
We found that a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan is the most common plan type across the state. But you may also wish to explore other plan types on the health insurance marketplace, including Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, which are also available in Ohio.
These are the cheapest Silver plans per plan type:
- HMO: SummaCare Silver 6000 with SCConnect Network and 3 Free PCP Visits from SummaCare ($414 per month)
- PPO: AultCare Silver 7900 Premier Select No Pediatric Dental from AultCare ($403 per month)
HMO and PPO plans are the most common plans. Compared to HMO plans, PPO plans are generally more expensive but offer a wider network and allow you to see specialists without a referral.
Ohio residents shopping for health insurance have a choice between HMO and PPO plans.
- HMO plans typically have the lowest premiums but offer the least flexibility. To be covered, you must receive medical treatment and services from providers and facilities within the provider’s network, except in an emergency. You’ll also need to secure a referral from your primary care provider before you can see a specialist.
- PPO plans provide greater flexibility if you don’t mind paying a few extra dollars. Although PPOs tend to be more expensive than HMOs, you’ll have access to a wider network of physicians, facilities, hospitals and pharmacies. You also won’t need referrals to see specialists.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Ohio by County
In most states, health insurance plans differ depending on your location, so the cheapest plan in one county may not necessarily be the cheapest in another. MoneyGeek collected and analyzed average premiums per county and found that the cheapest plans for the largest and smallest counties in Ohio are:
- Franklin County (largest county): Anthem Silver Pathway X HMO 5800/40% Standard ($408 per month)
- Vinton County (smallest county): Ambetter Virtual Access Silver - Virtual PCP selection required ($426 per month)
Digging deeper, we found that premiums for the same plan can vary depending on your location. For instance, the cheapest option in Defiance County is also Constant Care Silver 1, but it costs a bit more at $435 per month.
Find out the Silver plans available in your county using our table.
Health Insurance Costs in Ohio by Age and Metal Tier
Your age and the metal tier you select will impact your health insurance premiums. To illustrate, here are the average monthly premiums for a 40-year-old in Ohio:
- Catastrophic: $596
- Bronze: $822
- Expanded Bronze: $890
- Silver: $1,093
- Gold: $1,356
- Platinum: $876
Purchasing a more valuable metal tier plan might be more expensive month to month. But you’ll be assured of better coverage, more benefits and lower out-of-pocket expenses, which might make it cheaper than a less valuable metal plan in the long run. This makes Gold and Platinum plans ideal options for individuals who anticipate requiring lots of medical care and expensive surgery or treatments.
Health insurance becomes more expensive as one gets older since aging makes you prone to developing certain illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, that require costly care. We found that a Silver plan only costs around $876 per month for a young adult, but rates increase to up to $1,093 for middle-aged adults and $2,321 for seniors.
What to Know About Ohio Health Insurance
MoneyGeek gathered data from private health insurance plans to help you find the cheapest options available. Typically, you can compare these plans during the open enrollment period and select one that matches your needs and preferred coverage levels.
There are also government-sponsored health insurance programs that can make health insurance much more affordable for certain groups of individuals. For instance, people from low-income backgrounds may qualify for Medicaid, while seniors and those with a disability may be eligible for Medicare.
Private Health Insurance in the Ohio Marketplace
You can purchase a health insurance plan from private insurers during the open enrollment period, which usually runs from November 1 to January 15. During this period, you can enroll in, re-enroll in or change your health plan, so it takes effect on January 1.
Note that December 15 is the last day to enroll for coverage to be effective January 1. Enrolling early gives you more time to adjust your plan before the enrollment period ends. It also guarantees that you won’t have a gap in coverage since coverage will only start on February 1 for those who enrolled or changed plans between December 16 and January 15.
If you missed open enrollment, you can still purchase private health insurance during a special enrollment period. You qualify for special enrollment when you experience certain life events, such as relocating, getting married, having a child or losing health coverage through unemployment. Generally, you can enroll in a plan up to 60 days before or 60 days after the event.
What Are Health Insurance Metal Tiers?
You can choose from several metal tiers when shopping for a health plan, each with its pros and cons. Remember that the less valuable metals have cheaper monthly premiums but higher deductibles, whereas more valuable metals are more expensive but have the lowest MOOPs.
- Catastrophic: These plans have the lowest premiums and the highest deductibles. They’re best for individuals who want protection from worst-case scenarios like a serious illness and can afford to shoulder the cost of most of their routine medical care. Individuals under 30, and those who are over 30 but have a hardship exemption or affordability exemption, can qualify.
- Bronze: These offer the lowest premiums for most people but also have higher deductibles. Bronze plans offer cheap coverage if you’re in good shape and don’t foresee needing frequent doctor and specialist visits.
- Expanded Bronze: These represent the halfway point in coverage and cost between regular Bronze and Silver plans. Expanded Bronze plans have better benefits and lower deductibles than Bronze, including coverage for office visits and one major service before you hit your deductible.
- Silver: These are the most popular plans and a middle-ground option in terms of costs and coverage. One distinct advantage is that you can qualify for cost-sharing reductions that will significantly reduce your copay, co-insurance and deductibles.
- Gold: These have higher premiums than lower metal tier plans. But it might make sense to choose this plan if you need substantial or frequent care. Despite being more expensive month to month, you’ll still save by paying less out of pocket.
- Platinum: As the highest metal tier, Platinum plans require you to pay the highest monthly premiums but take care of nearly all your health care expenses. We recommend this option if you want the best coverage and benefits and don’t mind paying a hefty fee.
Ultimately, your budget and needs should be the key deciding factors when choosing the right metal tier. Weigh your options carefully before signing up for a plan.
Medicaid in Ohio
You can still get health insurance even if you’re cash-strapped. Low-income families, pregnant women and children under 19 can get free or low-cost health coverage through Medicaid. Being a Medicaid expansion state, Ohio bases Medicaid eligibility on income alone. Your income must fall below 138% of the FPL to qualify. Coverage includes hospital care, doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental and mental health services.
Medicare in Ohio
Medicare is another federal health insurance program for residents 65 and older and those with a qualifying disability or illness.
The Medicare program subsidizes health care services and is much cheaper than marketplace plans. It has the following parts:
- Part A (hospital insurance): Covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, care in a nursing facility and some home care.
- Part B (medical insurance): Covers outpatient care, doctor’s visits, preventive services and medical supplies.
- Part D (prescription drug coverage): Covers the cost of prescribed medication, including recommended vaccines and other shots.
Expert Tips on Finding the Most Affordable Health Insurance for Families and Individuals in Ohio
- When can I shop for health insurance on the Ohio health insurance exchange?
- How do I take advantage of cost-sharing reductions and tax credits for health insurance in Ohio?
- Outside of plans on the health insurance exchange, where else can I get health insurance in Ohio?
Life and Health Insurance Agent at Wallace & Turner Insurance
Ohio Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
Health insurance buyers often have questions about cost and the availability of plan types and metal tiers. MoneyGeek addresses the most common questions below.
About Mark Fitzpatrick
- HealthCare.gov. " The health plan categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum." Accessed January 12, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Catastrophic health plans." Accessed January 12, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Special Enrollment Period (SEP)." Accessed January 12, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Federal poverty level (FPL)." Accessed January 12, 2023.