Best Cheap Health Insurance in Alabama 2020

Find the Cheapest Health Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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In Alabama, affordable health insurance can be found on the state marketplace. We examined all the health insurance plans in Alabama and discovered that in the majority of counties, the Blue Cross Select Silver was the cheapest Silver health plan.

For 2020, the average monthly cost of health insurance in Alabama is $488 for a 40-year-old — a 7% rise since the 2018 plan year.

Although there are two insurers available on the state exchange, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama consistently provided the best prices on plans across all coverage tiers. But as you compare health insurance policies with different levels of coverage, the best plan for you may be different from the cheapest plan in terms of premiums, as cost sharing and benefits vary.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

We compared health insurance policies in Alabama by metal tier to find the most affordable plans for the different levels of coverage. The rates may change by county, but the table below provides a good starting point in comparing the costs and benefits you may expect from a given metal tier. It shows the minimum monthly rate you can expect out of each tier of coverage and the deductibles you may expect from the plan. For example, the Blue Cross Select Gold has a minimum monthly premium of $601, whereas the Blue Cross Select Silver has a minimum monthly rate of $491. Although the Blue Cross Select Silver is $110 cheaper a month, the deductible is more than $2,000 higher.

Metal tierCheapest planDeductibleOut-of-pocket maximumMonthly cost for a 40-year-old
CatastrophicBlue Protect$8,150$8,150$293.78
BronzeBronze$8,150$8,150$361.29
Expanded BronzeBronze Plus$6,000$8,150$363.12
SilverBlue Cross Select Silver$3,250$8,150$490.91
GoldBlue Cross Select Gold$850$6,000$600.76

In addition to metal tier and the policy you choose, your age also affects the actual cost of a health insurance plan. As you get older, health insurance premiums across all metal tiers increase. For example, a 60-year-old would pay $722 more a month than a 40-year-old for a Gold plan in Alabama. But if you have a Silver plan, you would pay $599 more on average as a 60-year-old.

Average Monthly Cost of Health Insurance Plans by Metal Tier in Alabama

Finding the best health insurance coverage in Alabama

The best cheap health insurance plan in Alabama will depend on the county you live in, as this determines which policies are available. It's also based in part on your income, as low-income households may qualify for cost-sharing reductions (CSR), also known as subsidies. No matter where you live, you will be able to choose from different metal tiers that offer varying levels of coverage and rates to fit your financial situation.

Gold and Silver plans typically charge higher monthly premiums. However, they charge lower out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance, than Bronze and Catastrophic plans. People who expect to use their health insurance often for recurring medical costs may be better off choosing a higher metal tier policy. However, if you're young and healthy, you would likely save money by choosing a lower metal tier plan.

Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs

The highest metal tier available in Alabama, Gold plans can be the best for those who expect to use their insurance often. These typically cover the most out-of-pocket costs, which means you'll pay lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance. These health plans are typically best for those who expect to incur high medical expenses from chronic conditions or people who have costly prescriptions. On average, you can expect a Gold plan to cover roughly 80% of your health care expenses, while you pay the other 20%.

Silver plans: Best for those with low income or average medical costs

Silver policies offer a middle ground between Gold and Bronze plans. In Alabama, Silver plan premiums are 9% cheaper than Gold plans on average, but they're 52% more expensive than Bronze plans. Silver plans provide a good balance between affordable monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, but they stand out due to their cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies. If you are part of a low-income household, you may qualify for subsidies with a Silver health plan, which would further lower your out-of-pocket expenses. Typical Silver plans cover about 70% of your health care costs while you pay 30%. But with subsidies, you could qualify for a Silver plan that covers up to 94% of your health care costs.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people

The lowest monthly rates are available under Catastrophic plans, but they also offer the least coverage. To qualify for a Catastrophic plan, you must be younger than 30 or qualify for an exemption. Bronze plans are open to everyone, but they offer similarly lower monthly premiums than higher metal tier plans. The lower monthly rates mean reduced coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs. So if you need medical care during the year, you would have to pay more money out of pocket before coverage kicks in. On average, you can expect a Bronze plan to cover about 60% of your health costs while you pay for the other 40%.

Health insurance rate changes in Alabama

Health insurance rates, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are set on an annual basis by the health insurance providers. The rate changes and then sent to the federal exchange for approval before being offered during Open Enrollment.

For 2020, Gold metal plans saw that largest increase in rates — rising nearly 11% since 2018 in Alabama. On the other hand, Silver plans decreased in price by $48 per month.

Metal tier2018 Premium2020 Premium% Change
Catastrophic$291$3075.51%
Bronze$347$3614.12%
Silver$581$533-8.30%
Gold$581$64310.65%
2018 and 2020 premiums are for a 40-year-old adult.

Short-Term Health Insurance in Alabama

In Alabama, residents can purchase short-term health insurance through private health insurers at any point during the year. The state follows federal guidelines, so the coverage is limited to one year and can be renewed up to 36 months.

Short-term health insurance does not cover the essential health benefits—such as maternity care, mental health services and prescription drugs—like qualified Obamacare plans do. For this reason, you should carefully evaluate the policy against your health care needs before purchasing. Furthermore, you will be required to complete a medical exam before buying a policy, and you may be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

Find the Cheapest Health Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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Best cheap health insurance companies in Alabama

There are two health insurance companies on the Alabama state exchange: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and Bright Health Insurance Company. However, you will only be able to get Bright Health Insurance Company if you live in one of four counties (Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker), whereas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is available throughout the state.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

Although coverage through the Alabama health insurance marketplace varies by county, Blue Cross Select Silver was the cheapest Silver plan in each region. Below, the table shows sample monthly premiums for the Blue Cross Select Silver Plan based on the number of people covered. Depending on the county, the same health plan may have different rates. For example, a 40-year-old can expect to pay a monthly premium of $471 in Greene County for the Blue Cross Select Silver policy, but for the same person it would cost $542 in Birmingham, which is in Jefferson County.

CountyCheapest PlanAge 40Couple, age 40Couple, age 40 + child
AutaugaBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
BaldwinBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
BarbourBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
BibbBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
BlountBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
BullockBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
ButlerBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CalhounBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
ChambersBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CherokeeBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
ChiltonSilver 1$525$1,051$1,312
ChoctawBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
ClarkeBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
ClayBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CleburneBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CoffeeBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
ColbertBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
ConecuhBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CoosaBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CovingtonBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CrenshawBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
CullmanBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
DaleBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
DallasBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
De KalbBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
ElmoreBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
EscambiaBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
EtowahBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
FayetteBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
FranklinBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
GenevaBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
GreeneBlue Cross Select Silver$491$982$1,226
HaleBlue Cross Select Silver$491$982$1,226
HenryBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
HoustonBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
JacksonBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
JeffersonSilver 1$525$1,051$1,312
LamarBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
LauderdaleBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
LawrenceBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
LeeBlue Cross Select Silver$556$1,111$1,387
LimestoneBlue Cross Select Silver$561$1,122$1,401
LowndesBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
MaconBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
MadisonBlue Cross Select Silver$561$1,122$1,401
MarengoBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
MarionBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
MarshallBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
MobileBlue Cross Select Silver$518$1,036$1,293
MonroeBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
MontgomeryBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
MorganBlue Cross Select Silver$502$1,003$1,253
PerryBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
PickensBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
PikeBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
RandolphBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
RussellBlue Cross Select Silver$556$1,111$1,387
Saint ClairBlue Cross Select Silver$539$1,079$1,347
ShelbySilver 1$525$1,051$1,312
SumterBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
TalladegaBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
TallapoosaBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
TuscaloosaBlue Cross Select Silver$491$982$1,226
WalkerSilver 1$525$1,051$1,312
WashingtonBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
WilcoxBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266
WinstonBlue Cross Select Silver$507$1,014$1,266

Average cost of health insurance by family size in Alabama

Beyond the metal tier and the ages of your family members, your family's size will also affect the monthly rates for your health insurance policy. In Alabama, the average cost of health insurance for a family of three, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child, is $1,330.

For each additional child, the average cost of a Silver health plan increases by $265. A family of four, assuming it has two 40-year-old adults and two children, would cost an average of $1,595 per month to insure. The monthly rate for children under the age of 15 will remain flat, but once a child turns 15 years old, the monthly health plan premium will increase as they get older.

Family SizeAverage monthly cost of health plan
Individual + Child$797
Couple Age 40$1,066
Family of three (Adult couple and a child)$1,330
Family of four (Adult couple and two children)$1,595
Family of five (Adult couple and three children)$1,860
Adults are assumed to be 40 years old. Sample rates are based on the average cost for a Silver plan in Alabama.

Methodology

The health insurance data for rates and plans in this report is found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) government website. Using the Public Use Files (PUF), premiums were averaged across a variety of factors such as by metal tier, by county and by family size.

Comments and Questions

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