Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Ohio 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Ohio 2021

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We compared all the policies in the Ohio marketplace and found that the cheapest health insurance policies in most of Ohio were Ambetter Balanced Care 29, CareSource Marketplace Low Premium Silver and Constant Care Silver 4 250 Silver-tiered plans. However, these insurers aren't available in every county in the state, so the most affordable health coverage may differ depending on where you live.

The average cost of health insurance in Ohio is $471 per month for a 40-year-old.

Residents of Ohio can find affordable health insurance on the state exchange or through Medicaid, depending on income, although your best health plan will depend on your budget and expected costs. We recommend comparing multiple companies before purchasing a plan.

Cheapest health insurance coverage by metal tier

We recommend using these low-cost health insurance policies as a starting point to determine the costs and benefits you can expect from a given metal tier of coverage.

Health insurance plans are categorized into metal tiers, which correspond to the benefits and out-of-pocket expenses you can expect from a policy.

We analyzed affordable health insurance policies in Ohio across each tier and identified the lowest-cost options to help you find the best health insurance plan for a given level of coverage.

Average cost of health insurance in Ohio by metal tier

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The cost of medical coverage is largely based on your chosen level of coverage as well as your age, with older individuals facing significantly higher premiums.

As you can see above, a 60-year-old in Ohio would pay 112% higher rates for health insurance than a 40-year-old, which is consistent no matter the metal tier of coverage you choose. A 40-year-old, however, pays rates that are 28% more expensive than those a 21-year-old pays.

The cheapest plans listed below aren't available in every county, as no insurer offers plans statewide through the Ohio marketplace, but we recommend using these to determine the premiums you can expect.

Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Deductible
Maximum out of pocket
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
CatastrophicMarket HMO Young Adult Essentials - Mercy$8,550$8,550$188
BronzeAmbetter Essential Care 1$8,300$8,300$242
Expanded BronzeAmbetter Essential Care 10$7,200$8,400$249
SilverAmbetter Balanced Care 29$5,450$8,400$311
GoldAmbetter Secure Care 5$1,450$6,300$368


Finding your best health insurance coverage in Ohio

The health insurance policies available to you will vary depending on where you live in Ohio, but in every county, you'll be able to choose from multiple metal tiers of coverage. The best cheap health plan for you will be based, in part, on your income and expected medical expenses, since these impact the rates you'll pay and the coverage you'll need.

Higher-coverage metal tiers are more expensive in terms of premiums, but their lower cost sharing makes them ideal for families that expect to have large or consistent health care expenses.

On the other hand, lower-coverage metal tier health plans have cheaper rates, but their high out-of-pocket expenses mean they're only ideal if you have emergency savings and don't expect to need costly medical care.

Gold plans: Best for families with high or consistent medical expenses

Gold health insurance plans are often the best option for families with higher expected medical costs. Gold policies have the highest monthly premiums but the lowest out-of-pocket costs.

So, you'd have to pay significantly less yourself before your health insurance provides coverage. This is a great benefit if you have ongoing prescriptions, a chronic condition or simply couldn't manage a large, unexpected expense and would prefer higher, but predictable, premiums.

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

Ohio has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, meaning a household income of up to 138% of the federal poverty level can qualify for Medicaid. Low-income families that don't qualify will likely get their best rates with a Silver plan.

Silver health insurance policies are the only ones that qualify for cost-sharing reduction subsidies if your household income falls below certain thresholds. Silver plans are also a good middle ground as they combine more affordable medical insurance rates than Gold plans along with lower out-of-pocket expenses than you'd face with a Bronze plan.

Bronze/Catastrophic plans: Best for young families with savings

If you're under the age of 30 or you meet certain exemptions, you can qualify for a Catastrophic health insurance plan. These offer the lowest monthly premiums and the highest cost sharing.

We wouldn't recommend Catastrophic or Bronze health plans — which are available to everyone in Ohio — unless you're confident in your ability to cover the out-of-pocket expenses if you need health care. Your health insurance won't provide coverage until you meet your out-of-pocket deductibles and copays.

So, for instance, the Ambetter Essential Care 1 Bronze plan premium can be as little as $242 per month for a 40-year-old, which is much cheaper than the $368 premium for the Ambetter Secure Care 5. The deductible for the Bronze plan, however, is nearly $7,000 more expensive than the Gold plan.

Health insurance rate changes in Ohio

Health insurance rates, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are determined annually by health care providers then submitted for approval to federal regulators.

In 2021, the cost of health insurance fell by an average of 4% across all metal tiers. The cost of Bronze plans dropped by the largest amount: 7% or $26 per month.

Metal tier
2020 premium
2021 premium
% change
Catastrophic$293$276-6%
Bronze$363$337-7%
Expanded BronzeN/A$370N/A
Silver$475$471-1%
Gold$579$559-3%

Premiums are for a 40-year-old adult.


Short-term health insurance in Ohio

Ohio residents have the option of purchasing short-term health insurance plans. Coverage can last up to 12 months, which is similar to federal guidelines. However, Ohio does not allow policyholders to renew short-term health insurance after the initial coverage period has ended.

You may want to consider a short-term health policy if you miss the open enrollment period or if you lose employer-sponsored health care. It is important to note that short-term plans do not cover the same essential benefits as private health insurance policies.

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Best cheap health insurance companies in Ohio

There are currently 10 health insurance companies — two more providers year-over-year — on the Ohio state exchange. However, none of these insurers offers coverage in every county. So the best insurer and policy available will differ based on your location.

  • Community Insurance Company (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield)
  • CareSource
  • Ambetter Buckeye Community Health Plan
  • Medical Health Insuring Corp. of Ohio
  • Oscar Insurance Corporation of Ohio
  • Molina Healthcare of Ohio, Inc.
  • AultCare Insurance Company
  • Paramount Insurance Company
  • Oscar Buckeye State Insurance Corp.
  • Summa Insurance Company, Inc.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose from up to five insurers, though in many counties only one health insurance company is available. For instance, if you live in Columbus, which is in Franklin County, you'd be able to compare plans from six insurers, rather than the 10 that are available throughout the entire state.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

To help you get started in your search for the best health insurance plan, we compared all Silver policies in Ohio and identified the cheapest plan offered in each county. The Ambetter Balanced Care 29 health plan had the most affordable rates in 58% of Ohio's counties.

Below, you can see the health plan with the best price for Silver coverage where you live, as well as sample rates for an individual, a couple and a family of three.

County
Cheapest Plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Couple, age 40 plus child
AdamsAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$337$673$875
AllenAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$365$729$948
AshlandCareSource Marketplace Low Premium Silver$398$795$1,033
AshtabulaConstant Care Silver 4 250$330$661$858
AthensConstant Care Silver 4 250$373$747$970
AuglaizeAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$365$729$948
BelmontAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$391$782$1,016
BrownAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$337$673$875
ButlerAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$362$724$941
CarrollAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$342$684$888
ChampaignAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$369$738$959
ClarkAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$369$738$959
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Average cost of health insurance by family size in Ohio

The cost of health insurance is based on each person covered, and the number of people on the policy will directly impact your premiums.

Children ages 14 and younger are typically covered at a flat rate, meaning the cost of coverage won't likely increase until they're older.

A couple in Ohio would pay double the monthly rate for the same Silver health plan that a single person would, or $471 on average assuming both people are 40 years old. However, adding a child under the age of 15 would only increase the monthly health insurance rate by an average of $282, meaning a family of three would pay $1,225 for a health plan.

Individual plus child
$753
Couple, age 40$943
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,225
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,507
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$1,789

Adults are assumed to be 40 years old. Sample rates are based on the average cost for a Silver plan in Ohio.

Methodology

Health insurance rates and plans in this report were compiled from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services government website. ValuePenguin, using the Public Use Files (PUF), calculated averages by metal tier, family size and county to understand the health insurance marketplace within Ohio.

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.