Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Iowa (2023)

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Iowa (2023)

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People who live in Iowa can find cheap health insurance through their state exchange, but the best plan for you depends on where you live and your needs.

In Iowa, the average health insurance premium for a 2023 plan is $476 per month for a 40-year-old, 7% higher than in 2022.

In Iowa, either the Wellmark Silver Traditional HMO or the Oscar Silver Simple - PCP Saver is the cheapest Silver health insurance policy. The Wellmark Silver Traditional HMO plan is available across the state, while the Oscar Silver Simple plan is available in one-fourth of Iowa counties (where nearly 45% of Iowa residents live) and offers the cheapest premiums. We also ran the numbers to find the cheapest plans for all other plan tiers.

Cheapest health insurance coverage by plan tier

We compared Iowa health insurance plans by plan tier and identified the cheapest plan in each category to help you find the best policy for your desired level of coverage. These policies aren't offered in every county.

For instance, the Oscar Gold Classic - Standard policy costs $429 per month for a 40-year-old. The Gold health plan is $109 more expensive than the Oscar Bronze Classic plan, but the Gold policy offers a $5,750 lower deductible.

Plan tier
Cheapest plan
Monthly cost
Out-of-pocket maximum
CatastrophicOscar Secure$261$9,100$9,100
BronzeOscar Bronze Classic$320$7,750$9,100
SilverOscar Silver Simple - PCP Saver$438$5,500$8,900
GoldOscar Gold Classic - Standard$429$2,000$8,700

Age and coverage tier are two important factors that affect your monthly premium. As age increases, premiums across all metal tiers increase.

Higher coverage tiers mean higher rates but lower out-of-pocket costs if you were to use your insurance. For example, a 40-year-old would pay $619 less per month than a 60-year-old for a Gold plan in Iowa. But a 40-year-old with a Bronze plan would pay $500 less on average than a 60-year-old.

Cheapest health insurance companies in Iowa

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Finding your best health insurance coverage in Iowa

The best health insurance plans for you in Iowa change depending on your county and coverage needs. For example, the Oscar Silver Simple - PCP Saver health plan isn't available in Pottawattamie County. In this region, the Wellmark Silver Traditional HMO plan is the cheapest Silver plan. Still, 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 lifestyle.

In general, higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold policies, typically have higher monthly rates. However, they allow you to pay less for medical services, with lower deductibles, copays and better coinsurance, than Silver or Bronze policies.

If you have high recurring medical costs that arise from chronic conditions or require regular medical attention, a higher metal tier health plan may be the best option for you. On the other hand, a lower metal tier policy may be the best option if you're young and healthy — and are willing to risk higher potential cost sharing in exchange for lower monthly rates.

gold tier

Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs

The cheapest Gold plan in Iowa is the Oscar Gold Classic - Standard policy. Compare all tiers in Iowa.

Gold health insurance plans are typically the best for those who expect to use their insurance often. These plans cover the most out-of-pocket costs, which means lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance. However, this usually means you'll pay a higher monthly premium than you would with a Silver or Bronze plan.

Ultimately, these health plans are best if you have recurring or high expected medical costs, such as prescriptions or medical equipment, or you're concerned about paying out of pocket for an unexpected condition. On average, you can expect a Gold plan to cover roughly 80% of your health care expenses, while you pay the other 20%.

silver tier

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

The cheapest Silver plan in Iowa is the Oscar Silver Simple - PCP Saver. Compare all tiers in Iowa.

Silver policies give you the option of a middle ground between Gold and Bronze health insurance plans. Silver plans typically offer monthly rates that fall between Gold and Bronze plans, but that means your out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles, copays and coinsurance, may also fall in between them.

If you are part of a lower-income household, you may qualify for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies with a Silver health plan, which would further lower what you pay for medical care. Typical Silver plans cover about 70% of your health care costs, while you pay 30%. But with CSR subsidies, you could qualify for a Silver plan that covers up to 94% of your health care costs.

bronze tier

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people

The cheapest Bronze plan in Iowa is the Oscar Bronze Classic. The cheapest Catastrophic plan is the Oscar Secure. Compare all tiers in Iowa.

Catastrophic plans provide the least coverage, but they also have the lowest monthly rates. To qualify for a Catastrophic policy, you must be under 30 years old or be eligible for an exemption. Catastrophic plans also are not eligible for premium tax credits.

Bronze plans, on the other hand, are open to everyone and offer cheaper monthly premiums than Gold or Silver plans. The lower rates mean reduced coverage, which translates to higher out-of-pocket costs. So if you need medical care during the year, you have to pay more yourself before coverage kicks in. Typically, Bronze plans cover about 60% of your health care expenses, and you pay the other 40%.

Best cheap health insurance companies in Iowa

Iowa has three insurers on its health insurance marketplace. Your choices are Medica Insurance Co., Oscar Insurance Co. and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa Inc. Wellmark provides a variety of great options for health plans and offers the lowest-cost Silver policy in 74 of 99 counties (but not the state’s largest county, Polk).

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

We evaluated the most affordable Silver health insurance plans that are available through the Iowa exchange by county to help you find the best-priced health insurance in your location. Below, you can find the Silver policy with the cheapest monthly premium as well as sample rates for an individual, a couple and a family of three in your county.

County name
Cheapest Silver plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Couple, age 40 and child
AdairWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
AdamsWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
AllamakeeWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
AppanooseWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
AudubonWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
BentonWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
Black HawkSilver Simple - PCP Saver$438$875$1,137
BooneWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
BremerSilver Simple - PCP Saver$438$875$1,137
BuchananSilver Simple - PCP Saver$438$875$1,137
Buena VistaWellmark Silver Traditional HMO$490$980$1,273
ButlerSilver Simple - PCP Saver$438$875$1,137
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Average cost of health insurance by family size in Iowa

If you're looking for health insurance for your family, the number of people and their ages will affect the cost of your policy. For children under the age of 15, the monthly rate remains flat, but once a child turns 15 years old, the monthly health plan premium will start increasing.

For example, the average cost of health insurance for a family of three, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child with a Silver plan, is $1,435 per month in Iowa. For each additional child, the average cost of a Silver health plan increases by about $331, so a family of five will pay $2,097 per month on average for health coverage.

Family size
Average cost
Individual and child$883
Couple, age 40$1,105
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,435
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,766
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$2,097

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

Health insurance rate changes in Iowa

In Iowa, the average cost of a health insurance plan has increased by 7% since 2022. A typical 2023 policy for a 40-year-old costs $476 per month, $31 more than a year ago.

The average cost of a health plan has increased across all plan levels. Catastrophic health insurance plans saw the largest percentage cost increase in Iowa, with rates rising by 10%.

Plan tier
Change (2022 to 2023)
Bronze and Expanded Bronze$408$413$4458%

Monthly rates are for a 40-year-old adult.

For 2023, Expanded Bronze plans are no longer offered in Iowa, and shoppers only have access to Bronze plans. Even with this change, the average cost for this tier of coverage increased by 8%.


The Iowa health insurance premium and plan information used in this analysis was sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). ValuePenguin determined the average rates by age, plan tier, family size and region by referencing cost data from the public use files (PUFs) on the CMS website. Plans and providers for which county-level data was included in the CMS Crosswalk file were used in our analysis; those excluded from this data set may not appear.

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.