Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Montana 2020

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Affordable health coverage is available to Montana residents through the state health insurance marketplace, which offers health plans from three insurance companies.

For the 2020 plan year, the average health insurance rate for a 40-year-old is $448. This represents nearly an 8% decline in cost since 2018.

We researched all the health insurance plans on the state exchange and found that the Connected Care Silver Option 2 was the cheapest Silver policy in most Montana counties. However, depending on where you live, the price of the plan may vary by 10%.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

The state exchange offers five different tiers of health insurance coverage to choose from: Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver and Gold. We compared policies in Montana by tier to find a cheap health insurance policy at each level of coverage on the state exchange.

Metal tierPlan marketing nameDeductibleMaximum out-of-pocket costPremium
CatastrophicConnected Care Catastrophic$8,150$8,150$287
BronzeBlue Focus Bronze POS 205 - Two $40 PCP Visits$4,400$8,150$186
Expanded BronzeConnected Care Expanded Bronze$5,500$8,150$334
SilverCo-op Plus Silver$4,000$8,150$277
GoldCo-op Plus Gold$750$5,750$244

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The plans above may not be available in your county, but they're a good starting point to compare the costs and benefits in that given tier. The Co-op Plus Silver plan, for instance, has a monthly premium that starts at $277 but a deductible of $4,000. The lowest-cost Bronze plan, Blue Focus Bronze POS 205, has higher out-of-pocket costs, with a $4,400 deductible, but comes with a cheaper minimum monthly premium of $186.

The cost of health insurance is largely driven by metal tier and the ages of the insured. A higher-tier policy would have higher monthly premiums but would also come with lower out-of-pocket costs when you use the insurance.

As you get older, the monthly cost of coverage will increase across all metal tiers. For example, the average price difference between a 40-year-old and a 60-year-old ranges from $381 to $611 depending on the metal tier. A 40-year-old would pay $611 less per month on average than a 60-year-old for a Gold plan, whereas that same 40-year-old would pay $565 less per month for a Silver plan, compared to the 60-year-old.

Average monthly cost of health insurance plans by metal tier in Montana

The best cheap health insurance plan in Montana will also depend on your county, as the same policy may have different rates depending on where you live. For example, the Connected Care Silver Option 2 plan costs $485 per month for a 40-year-old in Big Horn County, but it would cost $14 more for the same 40-year-old in Teton County.

Finding the best health insurance coverage in Montana

Typically, higher metal tier policies have costlier monthly premiums, but they also provide lower out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance. These higher metal tier plans are best if you think you may become sick or already have high recurring medical costs, such as prescriptions. On the other hand, policyholders who are young and healthy or don't expect to have high medical costs may wish to choose a lower metal tier plan to save money.

Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs

Gold plans are the highest metal tier available in Montana, and you can expect these policies to cover roughly 80% of your health care expenses, while you pay the other 20%.

Gold health plans typically cover the greatest share of out-of-pocket costs, as the deductibles, copays and coinsurance are lower. These benefits come at the expense of a higher monthly premium. The average cost of a Gold plan in Montana is 8% greater than the average cost of a Silver health plan.

Generally, Gold health insurance policies are the most cost-effective if you have ongoing medical costs; for example, you have a chronic condition or costly prescriptions.

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

For many households, in terms of monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, Silver plans fall between Gold and Bronze metal tier plans, serving as a good middle ground. However, Silver plans are also eligible for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies that would further lower your 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.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people

Catastrophic and Bronze health insurance plans offer the cheapest monthly premiums. However, Catastrophic plans are only available to those under 30 years old or those who qualify for an exemption. Bronze plans are the cheapest option available to everyone, but they come with reduced coverage. Policyholders generally pay higher out-of-pocket costs compared to higher metal tier plans. 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%. Extended Bronze plans increase coverage to about 65%, while you pay roughly 35%. Therefore, we would only recommend these plans if you have the financial means to cover a large portion of your medical emergencies.

Health insurance rate changes in Montana

In Montana, health insurance premiums, out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles are adjusted yearly by insurance companies. Once the premiums are set, they are sent for approval to the federal exchange regulators.

In 2020, most health insurance plans have decreased since the 2018 plan year. The Gold and Silver plans decreased by 9% and 13% respectively, which were the largest declines during the period.

Metal tier2018 Premium2020 Premium% Change
Catastrophic$338$3390.33%
Bronze$423$390-7.83%
Expanded Bronze$370$3720.57%
Silver$553$506-8.58%
Gold$629$547-13.07%
2018 and 2020 premiums are for a 40-year-old adult.

Best cheap health insurance companies in Montana

Montana is one of a few states to maintain the same set of insurers in its marketplace for the last few years. The three health insurance companies on the Montana state exchange are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, Montana Health Cooperative and PacificSource Health Plans. All three insurers are available in every county in Montana, but the plans offered and their monthly premiums may differ.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

The cheapest Silver health insurance policy in 46 Montana counties is the Connected Care Silver Option 2. But the cost of a health insurance policy will differ depending on where you live, your age and the number of people covered.

In Park County, for instance, a 40-year-old would pay $14 more per month for the Navigator Silver 5000 policy than he would pay in Flathead county. The table below shows sample monthly rates for the most affordable plan in each Montana county.

CountyCheapest planAge 40Couple, age 40Couple, age 40 + Child
BeaverheadConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
Big HornConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
BlaineConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
BroadwaterConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
CarbonBlue Focus Silver POS 206 - Two $25 PCP Visits$355$711$923
CarterConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
CascadeConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
ChouteauConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
CusterConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
DanielsConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
DawsonConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
Deer LodgeConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
FallonConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
FergusConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
FlatheadNavigator Silver 5000$456$912$1,185
GallatinConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
GarfieldConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
GlacierConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
Golden ValleyConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
GraniteConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
HillConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
JeffersonConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
Judith BasinConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
LakeCo-op Plus Silver$277$553$830
Lewis And ClarkNavigator Silver 5000$470$940$1,221
LibertyConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
LincolnConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
MadisonConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
McConeConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
MeagherConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
MineralConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
MissoulaBlue Focus Silver POS 206 - Two $25 PCP Visits$405$810$1,052
MusselshellBlue Focus Silver POS 206 - Two $25 PCP Visits$355$711$923
ParkNavigator Silver 5000$470$940$1,221
PetroleumConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
PhillipsConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
PonderaConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
Powder RiverConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
PowellConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
PrairieConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
RavalliConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
RichlandConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
RooseveltConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
RosebudConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
SandersConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
SheridanConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
Silver BowConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
StillwaterBlue Focus Silver POS 206 - Two $25 PCP Visits$355$711$923
Sweet GrassBlue Focus Silver POS 206 - Two $25 PCP Visits$355$711$923
TetonConnected Care Silver Option 2$499$998$1,297
TooleConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
TreasureConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
ValleyConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
WheatlandConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
WibauxConnected Care Silver Option 2$485$969$1,259
YellowstoneBlue Focus Silver POS 206 - Two $25 PCP Visits$355$711$923

Average cost of health insurance by family size in Montana

In addition to your chosen health plan, the number of people covered and their ages will determine the cost of health insurance for your family in Montana. If you add children to your health insurance plan, the cost of coverage for each child is a flat rate until they are 15 years old. Upon reaching the age of 15, the monthly rate will increase as they grow older.

For instance, the average monthly health insurance cost for a family of three, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child on a Silver plan, is $1,315 in Montana. If you were to add another child to the plan, the monthly premium would increase by $304. So for a family of four, the total monthly cost of health coverage would be $1,619.

Family sizeAverage monthly cost of health plan
Individual + Child$809
Couple age 40$1,011
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,315
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,619
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$1,923
Sample adults are 40 years old. Sample rates are based on the average cost for a Silver plan in Montana.

Methodology

The health insurance rate data in this analysis was sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. ValuePenguin used the CMS Public Use Files (PUF) to average stated premiums 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.