Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in North Carolina (2023)

Best Cheap Health Insurance in North Carolina (2023)

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Blue Local Silver Preferred 3100 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the cheapest Silver health insurance plan in North Carolina.

The plan can cost as little as $440 per month in some parts of the state. That's a savings of $226 per month from the average cost of health insurance in North Carolina, which is $666 per month for a 40-year-old with a Silver plan. Those who have a low or moderate income may pay even less because of health insurance subsidies.

Most people will get the best deal on coverage from either Blue Cross Blue Shield or Aetna CVS Health, which have the cheapest Silver plans in most counties in North Carolina.

Cheapest health insurance in North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has the cheapest health insurance plans in the state, across all tiers of coverage.

To help you find the most affordable health insurance rates for your desired level of coverage, a good start is comparing the North Carolina policies offered for 2023 to determine the cheapest options for each coverage tier. The cheapest plans aren't available in every county in the state. However, you can use them as a starting point to determine the benefits and costs you can expect for a given tier of coverage.

Plan tier
Cheapest plan
Monthly cost
Deductible
Out-of-pocket maximum
CatastrophicBlue Local Catastrophic 9100$236$9,100$9,100
BronzeBlue Local Bronze 7000$321$7,000$9,100
SilverBlue Local Silver Preferred 3100$440$3,100$9,100
GoldBlue Local Gold 1800$452$2,000$8,700

Quotes are based on a 40-year-old.

Within a metal tier, your actual health insurance rates will also vary based on the policy you choose, your age and the size of your family. A 40-year-old pays $145 more per month for a Silver health insurance plan than a 21-year-old. And a 60-year-old pays $748 more than a 40-year-old. That's more than double the price, which shows how quickly rates can rise as you age.

Average cost of health insurance in North Carolina by metal tier

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How to choose the best health insurance coverage in North Carolina

The best health insurance plan for you will depend on your income level, as well as your expected medical expenses.

North Carolina health insurance plans are broken into tiers that represent different levels of coverage and monthly costs. Higher-tier plans typically cost more but have lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance. This means you'll be responsible for a smaller proportion of medical costs. With a lower-tier plan, you'll pay less each month, but you'll pay more for your medical care.

gold tier

Gold plans: Best for people with high expected medical costs

Gold plans are typically the best health insurance option if you expect to have large medical expenses, such as needing surgery or maternity care.

Though these policies cost more, they also have lower out-of-pocket expenses, which means you'll have to pay less for each visit to a health care provider. When choosing the best Gold health insurance plan, make sure to also consider the cost of routine prescriptions.

silver tier

Silver plans: Best for most people and those who have low incomes

Silver plans are a good choice for most people because they balance the monthly cost of a plan and how much you spend for medical care such as doctor appointments, treatment and prescriptions.

Silver plans have better benefits than Bronze and Catastrophic plans, making them a good choice for those with typical medical needs. Silver plans are also a good middle-ground option for shoppers who can't easily afford the higher cost of a Gold plan but still want good coverage.

For low-income households, a Silver health insurance plan may be the most cost-effective option because these policies are eligible for additional cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). These are extra savings that can further lower what you pay for medical care.

bronze tier

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people with low expected costs

Bronze and Catastrophic health insurance plans are the cheapest plans, but medical costs such as procedures or seeing a doctor can be expensive because you must meet a high deductible before the plan's full benefits kick in. Keep in mind that Catastrophic plans are only available if you're under 30 years old or meet certain requirements. Also, Catastrophic plans are not eligible for discounted rates for those who have a low or moderate income. Bronze plans don't have the same restrictions.

We typically recommend considering these plans only if you're young and healthy and have emergency savings to cover out-of-pocket expenses if you need medical care. For those with little saved up, paying more for a Silver plan may be the better choice because the plan's lower deductible can help you avoid large medical bills.

If you have a low income and meet other criteria, you may qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid. However, eligibility in North Carolina can be difficult because it's one of the 11 states that has not expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

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How to lower the cost of health insurance

If you have a low to moderate income, don't qualify for Medicaid and don't have health insurance through a job or family member, you can get cheap health insurance on HealthCare.gov, where you may qualify for reduced rates through health insurance subsidies. How much you save is based on your location, family size and income.

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Short-term health insurance in North Carolina

In North Carolina, short-term health insurance is available for purchase through private health insurance companies. Short-term policies typically have less coverage than a standard health insurance plan, and they might not cover things like mental health, maternity care or prescriptions. Furthermore, this type of policy often requires you to undergo a health assessment before you can get a policy.

North Carolina follows federal regulations for short-term insurance. These rules allow short-term health insurance plans to have coverage lengths of one year and to be renewable for up to 36 months.

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Best cheap health insurance companies in North Carolina

Aetna CVS Health has the best rates in North Carolina, on average, with a Silver plan costing $579 per month for a 40-year-old. There are currently nine health insurance companies selling private health insurance plans in North Carolina.

Though each company offers a variety of policies, you may be limited in the range of options available depending on where you live. For example, residents in every county have access to plans from WellCare and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). However, Oscar is only available in the western counties and the Asheville region.

Company
Monthly cost
Number of counties where available
Aetna CVS Health$57970
AmeriHealth Caritas Next$60727
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina$628100
Ambetter of North Carolina$64058
Friday Health Plans$64441
Oscar Health Plan of North Carolina Inc.$66510
Cigna HealthCare$70270
UnitedHealthcare$77038
WellCare of North Carolina$925100

Average cost is based on a 40-year-old buying a Silver plan in North Carolina.

The cheapest Silver health insurance plan in each county

Where you live in North Carolina will determine which insurance companies are available and which plans are the best deal. For example, someone living in Raleigh will get the cheapest rate for a Silver plan with the Blue Home Silver Preferred 3100, while someone living in Fayetteville will get the best deal with the Aetna CVS Silver 2.

County
Cheapest Silver plan
Adult
Couple
Couple & child
AlamanceBlue Home Silver Preferred 3100$491$981$1,275
AlexanderBlue Value Silver Preferred 3100$580$1,159$1,506
AlleghanyAmeriHealth Caritas Next Silver$607$1,214$1,577
AnsonAmbetter Clear Silver$481$962$1,249
AsheAmeriHealth Caritas Next Silver$607$1,214$1,577
Show All Rows

Monthly costs are for 40-year-old adults and children under age 15.

Average cost of health insurance by family size

Health insurance for a family of four costs about $2,130 per month in North Carolina.

Families in North Carolina pay more for each additional person covered by the health insurance plan. The average cost to add a child to a Silver health plan in North Carolina is $399 per month. This is much cheaper than the average cost to add an adult to a health insurance plan, which is about $666 per month.

Family size
Average cost
Adult + Child$1,065
Couple$1,332
Family of three couple + child)$1,731
Family of four (couple + two children)$2,130
Family of five (couple + three children)$2,529

Sample monthly rates are based on the average cost for a Silver plan in North Carolina for 40-year-old adults and children under age 15.

Health insurance rate changes in North Carolina

For 2023, the cost of health insurance in North Carolina increased by $50 per month, on average. That's a 10% increase from 2022. The largest cost increase is for Bronze and Catastrophic plans, which increased between 11% and 15%.

Plan tier
2021
2022
2023
Change (2022 to 2023)
Catastrophic$284$291$33415%
Bronze$435$456$50811%
Bronze Expanded$448$484--
Silver$588$634$6665%
Gold$663$699$7446%

Monthly rates are based on a 40-year-old. Bronze Expanded plans are not offered for 2023.

Rates for health insurance policies are set by individual insurers in North Carolina and have increased for the past several years. The proposed rates are sent to the health insurance marketplace for approval before being offered to residents.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average cost of health insurance in North Carolina?

For 2023, the average cost of a Silver health plan in North Carolina is $666 per month for a 40-year-old. You may be able to lower your expenses through cost-sharing reductions or premium subsidies, both of which are based on income and family size.

Can I get health insurance for preexisting conditions in North Carolina?

Yes, North Carolina residents are covered for preexisting conditions, and insurance companies are not allowed to deny you coverage, charge you more or limit your benefits. These protections only apply to traditional health insurance plans, not short-term health insurance.

How do I get health insurance in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, you can get health insurance through HealthCare.gov, by shopping with an agency or by shopping directly with an insurance company. Nine insurance companies sell plans in North Carolina, and the cheapest rates for most people are from Blue Cross Blue Shield or Aetna CVS Health.

Methodology

Policy details and premiums for this analysis were sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. ValuePenguin used the CMS public use files (PUFs) in calculating the average rates in North Carolina by county, age, family size and plan tier. 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.

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