Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Arkansas 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Arkansas 2021

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Arkansas residents can sign up for affordable health coverage through the state health insurance exchange or through Medicaid if their income qualifies.

For 2021, the average monthly cost of health insurance in Arkansas is $426 — after rising 5% or $21 since 2020 — for a 40-year-old.

We analyzed all the health insurance policies in the state and found that the Ambetter Balanced Care 12 (2021) was the cheapest Silver plan in every county. Although this may be the lowest-cost Silver health plan, you may want to purchase a plan in a different metal tier, and the best health insurance policy for you may depend on your medical and financial situation.

Select a plan tier to learn more:

Read on for data on the cheapest plans by metal tier and the average costs of plans based on location and family size.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

We compared health insurance plans in Arkansas to find the cheapest policies available for each tier of coverage. The available insurers and policies may change depending on the county you live in, but the table below can serve as a good starting point in comparing the costs and benefits you can expect from a given metal tier.

For example, the Bronze Plan 1 from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has a monthly premium of $343 for a 40-year-old in Arkansas, which is about $44 less than the Ambetter Balanced Care 12 (2021) Silver plan. But while the Bronze plan may have a lower monthly rate, that comes at the expense of higher out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles.
Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Deductible
Maximum out-of-pocket
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
BronzeAmbetter Essential Care 1 (2021)$8,300$8,300$322
Expanded BronzeBronze Plan 1$8,550$8,550$343
SilverAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$3,850$8,400$387
GoldAmbetter Secure Care 5 (2021)$1,450$6,300$499
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Metal tier and age are both important factors that affect your monthly health insurance premiums. Higher metal tier policies have higher monthly rates, but they also have lower out-of-pocket costs, meaning you'll pay less in the event you need to use your health insurance. Regardless of metal tier, as your age increases, your monthly premium will increase. A 40-year-old, for instance, would pay 53% lower health insurance rates than a 60-year-old in Arkansas, regardless of their plan's metal tier.

Cheapest health insurance companies in Arkansas

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Finding the best health insurance coverage in Arkansas

The best cheap health insurance plan in Arkansas will vary depending on the policies available in your county, as well as your chosen level of coverage.

Higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold plans, will typically have more expensive monthly premiums, but they also come with lower out-of-pocket expenses, like deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

If you think you may become sick or already have high recurring medical costs, like prescriptions, a higher metal tier health insurance policy may be the best choice for you.

Alternatively, if you're young and healthy — and have the financial means to pay higher medical costs in the event of an unexpected emergency — a lower metal tier health plan may be the better choice to cut costs.

Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs

Gold plans are considered higher metal tier health plans, which typically cover the greatest share of out-of-pocket expenses. However, these benefits come with more expensive monthly premiums.

Despite the higher monthly rates, these health insurance plans can be the most cost-effective for those with high expected medical costs or chronic medical conditions that require regular care. On average, you can expect a Gold plan to cover roughly 80% of your health care expenses, while you pay the other 20%.

The cheapest Gold plan in Arkansas is the Ambetter Secure Care 5 (2021). Compare all tiers in Arkansas above.

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

Silver plans are best for those looking for a balance between the higher monthly premiums in a Gold plan and the lower coverage found in Bronze or Catastrophic metal tiers.

For instance, the average monthly cost of the Ambetter Balanced Care 12 (2021) Silver health plan for a 40-year-old is $387, and it has a deductible of $3,850. The Ambetter Secure Care 5 (2021) is a Gold plan — it has a significantly lower deductible of $1,450 but would cost an average of $112 more per month.

Furthermore, lower-income households can qualify for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies with a Silver health plan, which would lower out-of-pocket expenses. Typical Silver plans cover about 70% of your health care costs, while you pay 30%. But under CSR subsidies, you could qualify for a Silver plan that covers up to 94% of your health care costs. Therefore, these health policies often offer the best value for lower-income families.

The cheapest Silver plan in Arkansas is the Ambetter Balanced Care 12 (2021). Compare all tiers in Arkansas above.

Bronze plans: Best for young, healthy people

Bronze plans offer cheaper monthly premiums than higher metal tier plans at the expense of reduced coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs. This means paying more out of pocket before your health insurance 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%. Expanded Bronze plans increase coverage to about 65%, while you pay roughly 35%.

The cheapest Bronze plan in Arkansas is the Bronze Plan 1. Compare all tiers in Arkansas above.

Health insurance rate changes in Arkansas

Health insurance premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are set annually by insurance providers and then approved by the federal exchange regulators.

In Arkansas, Gold health insurance plans had the biggest rise in premiums — increasing by 12% since 2020.

Metal tier
2020 premium
2021 premium
Percentage change
BronzeN/A$329N/A
Expanded Bronze$343$3594.52%
Silver$400$4184.48%
Gold$482$54112.37%

2020 and 2021 premiums are for a 40-year-old adult.

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Health insurance companies in Arkansas

There are currently four health insurance companies on the Arkansas state marketplace:

Arkansas Health Insurance Companies

  • Ambetter from Arkansas Health & Wellness
  • Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Health Advantage
  • QC Life and Health
  • QCA Health Plan

We recommend starting your search for the best health insurance policy for you with Ambetter, as it offers the cheapest Silver plan in every county.

Cost of health insurance by county

The cheapest health insurance plan in every county is the Ambetter Balanced Care 12 (2021), and starting in 2021 the policy is the same price no matter where you live in Arkansas. Furthermore, this change has been unanimous across the Arkansas health insurance marketplace — the rating area of your county will not change the premium for your policy.

County
Cheapest plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Couple, age 40 plus child
ArkansasAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
AshleyAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
BaxterAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
BentonAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
BooneAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
BradleyAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
CalhounAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
CarrollAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
ChicotAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
ClarkAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
ClayAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
CleburneAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2021)$387$773$1,005
Show All Rows
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Average cost of health insurance by family size in Arkansas

In addition to the coverage tier, the size of your family and their ages will affect your monthly health insurance premium. For children under the age of 15, the monthly health insurance premium remains flat. However, once a child turns 15 years old, the monthly health plan premium will increase annually as they get older.

The average cost of a Silver health insurance policy for a family of three, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child, is $1,087 in Arkansas. For each additional child, the average cost of a policy increases by about $250, so a family of five, assuming two adults and three children, would cost an average of $500 more per month to insure. On the other hand, an adult couple with no children would pay $837 on average for health insurance.

Family size
Average monthly cost of health plan
Individual plus child$669
Couple, age 40$837
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,087
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,338
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$1,588

Adults are assumed to be 40 years old. Children are assumed to be 14 or younger. Sample rates are based on the average cost of a Silver plan in Arkansas.

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Methodology

Arkansas health insurance plans, premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for this report were found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services government website. Using the many health insurance variables, ValuePenguin was able to compile averages and minimums for a variety of metrics such as metal tier, family size and county.

Maxime Croll

Maxime is a Sr. Director at ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry. Previously she was the Director of Product Marketing at CoverWallet, a commercial insurance startup, and helped launch NerdWallet's personal insurance business. Maxime has contributed insurance insights and analysis to Forbes, USA Today, The Hill, and many other publications.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.