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Best Cheap Health Insurance in Illinois 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Illinois 2021

Find Cheap Health Insurance Quotes in Illinois

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For the 2021 plan year, the average monthly health insurance premium across all metal tiers for a 40-year-old is $517. This means that the cost of coverage only changed by 4% in the past year.

The cheapest health insurance in Illinois for most people searching for a Silver plan is the 2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver plan by Health Alliance. This plan is the cheapest health insurance plan in 73% of the counties in Illinois. Alternatively, shoppers may find cheap health insurance with the Blue Choice Preferred silver PPO 203.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

We compared monthly premiums from all Illinois plans to determine the most affordable health insurance policy available in each metal tier and help you get started finding the best policy for your preferred level of coverage.

The actual set of insurance companies and health plans offered will change depending on the county you live in, so those listed below may not be available where you live. But we recommend using these as a starting point to assess the benefits and cost sharing you can expect for a given level of coverage as compared to a policy's rates.

Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Maximum out-of-pocket
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
CatastrophicCatastrophic 3 $0 Primary Care Visits$8,550$8,550$279
BronzeWellFirst Bronze Value Copay 8500X$8,550$8,550$335
Expanded BronzeBlue FocusCare Bronze℠ 209$7,400$8,550$268
SilverSilver 5000$5,000$8,550$337
GoldBlue FocusCare Gold 211$750$0$412

The actual cost of a health insurance plan in Illinois will be based on your age and the ages of family members covered by the policy.

For instance, if you're 21 years old, your health insurance rates would be 28% cheaper, for the same tier of coverage, on average, than the rates for a 40-year-old. At the same time, 60-year-olds pay 112% higher rates than 40-year-olds.

This holds across all metal tiers of coverage, although the difference in price would be larger or smaller depending on the level of coverage chosen. For example, a 40-year-old would pay $77 more per month on average than a 21-year-old for a Bronze health plan, but $120 per month more for an average Silver plan.

Cheapest health insurance companies in Illinois

Finding the best health insurance coverage in Illinois

The set of available insurers changes by county, so the best health insurance plan available to you in Illinois will depend on where you live and your chosen level of coverage. Higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold policies, have more expensive monthly premiums but significantly lower out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

So, if you have costly prescriptions or are concerned about unpredictable costs during the year if you become ill, a higher metal tier plan will likely be your best health insurance choice. On the other hand, if you have a large emergency savings to cover cost sharing but no expected medical costs and want to keep your monthly rates down, a lower metal tier plan may be the cheapest.

Gold plans: Best if you have high expected medical costs

Gold health insurance plans have the lowest variable costs, such as deductibles and copays, that you'd need to cover before your policy would pay for medical care. However, they also come with the most expensive monthly rates. Therefore, these health plans are best if you have high expected medical costs, such as ongoing prescriptions, or are concerned about being able to pay out of pocket for an unexpected condition.

The cheapest Gold plan in Illinois is Blue FocusCare Gold 211. Compare all tiers in Illinois above.

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

For households with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level, you may be able to get Medicaid, as Illinois expanded its coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you don't qualify for Medicaid but have a low-income household, a Silver plan may be the most cost-effective option for health insurance coverage, as these policies are eligible for cost-sharing reduction subsidies.

Silver health plans are also a good middle ground between Bronze and Gold plans, combining affordable monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. So, for instance, if you can't afford the rates of a Gold plan in Illinois but would have trouble covering the high deductible and copayments of a Bronze plan, a Silver plan may be the best alternative.

The cheapest Silver plan in Illinois is Silver 5000. Compare all tiers in Illinois above.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best if you're healthy and have emergency savings

You can only qualify for Catastrophic health plans if you're under 30 years old or meet certain exemption requirements. You also cannot use a premium tax credit to reduce the cost of a Catastrophic plan. Bronze plans, on the other hand, are available to anyone and are eligible for premium tax credits.

These lower metal tier policies have cheap monthly premiums for health insurance but much higher cost-sharing. So, if you need medical care during the year, you have to pay more money out of pocket before coverage kicks in.

For instance, the WellFirst Bronze Value Copay 8500X Bronze plan has a deductible of $8,550, whereas some Gold plans, such as the Blue FocusCare Gold℠ 211, have a deductible below $1,000. If you can cover the high cost-sharing in the event of an emergency and expect to have low medical costs, a Bronze plan may be your best cheap option for health insurance coverage.

The cheapest Bronze plan in Illinois is WellFirst Bronze Value Copay 8500X. Compare all tiers in Illinois above.

Health insurance rate changes in Illinois

Health insurance rates are set by individual health insurers. Once the rates have been determined, they are sent to the federal health insurance exchange for approval.

In 2021, the average cost of most metal tiers in Illinois fell. Bronze plans fell by 26%, which was the steepest decline of any coverage tier. This amounted to a decrease of $127 per month. Silver and Gold plans dropped by 6% and 4%, respectively.

Metal tier
2020 premium
2021 premium
Expanded Bronze$466$462-1%

Premiums are for a 40-year-old adult.

Short-term health insurance in Illinois

In Illinois, short-term health insurance can be purchased from insurance providers outside of the state health insurance exchange. The state currently restricts short-term health insurance policy lengths to less than six months and allows the plans to be renewable for up to 36 months. In addition, you cannot purchase a new short-term plan from the same insurer within 60 days of the end of your last short-term policy.

It is important to note that short-term health insurance plans typically do not cover the same benefits as ACA marketplace health policies. This includes no coverage for the essential benefits and preexisting conditions.

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Best cheap health insurance companies in Illinois

There are eight health insurance companies on the Illinois state exchange, although you may not be able to choose your carrier, depending on where you live:

  • Health Alliance
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
  • MercyCare Health Plans
  • Quartz
  • Ambetter of Illinois
  • Bright Health
  • Cigna Healthcare
  • WellFirst Health

We recommend beginning your search for the best health insurance with Health Alliance plans if they're offered in the county you live in. This company is available in 51 counties of Illinois — in which it has the cheapest Silver health insurance plan offered by any insurance provider.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

The insurers and health plans offered on the Illinois health insurance marketplace will vary depending on the county where you reside. To help you find the best cheap health insurance policy for your family, we analyzed all plans in the state and identified the most affordable Silver plan in every county. Below, you can check out sample monthly rates for each of the health plans.

Cheapest plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Couple, age 40 plus child
Adams2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$546$1,093$1,420
Alexander2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$663$1,325$1,722
Bond2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$581$1,162$1,510
BooneMercyCare HMO Silver Option B$494$988$1,283
Brown2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$546$1,093$1,420
BureauBlue Choice Preferred Silver PPO℠ 203$554$1,107$1,439
Calhoun2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$581$1,162$1,510
CarrollQuartz One Silver I303$525$1,050$1,364
Cass2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$546$1,093$1,420
Champaign2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$540$1,081$1,405
Christian2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$546$1,093$1,420
Clark2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver$540$1,081$1,405
Show All Rows

Average cost of health insurance by family size in Illinois

The amount you'll pay for a particular health insurance policy in Illinois is determined by the number of people covered and their ages. If you add your children to your health insurance plan, coverage for each child will cost a flat rate through the age of 14, after which their premium will increase with age. If your spouse is covered by your health insurance policy, their price is determined by age — just like your cost of coverage.

The cost of health insurance for your family will depend on the plan you choose, but the average cost to cover a family of three in Illinois with a Silver plan is $1,564, assuming two 40-year-old parents and one child. The first child added to a plan raises one's insurance by the average health plan cost increases by $464.

Similarly, adding a spouse to your Silver policy increases your monthly premiums by $505 on average in Illinois, assuming they're 40 years old. If you're the same age, this would effectively double your monthly cost of health insurance.

Family size
Average monthly cost of health plan
Individual plus child$879
Couple, age 40$1,100
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,564
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,924
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$2,285

Adults are 40 years old, while a child is 14 or younger. Sample rates are based on the average cost of a Silver plan in Illinois.


Health insurance rates and plans in Illinois stated above can be 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 metal tier, county and family size.

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.


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