Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Pennsylvania in 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Pennsylvania in 2021

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The cheapest health insurance in Pennsylvania for most people is the Silver PPO 5950/20/40, the most affordable Silver plan in 24% of the state's counties. Alternatively, the cheapest Silver plan overall is the Together Blue EPO Silver 3450 HSA. This plan is only available in three counties.

Cheap health insurance plans in Pennsylvania are available through the state exchange, though some shoppers can qualify for Medicaid depending on their household income. In 2021, the average cost of health insurance in the state is $449 per month, down 5% from the 2020 average.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

We compared Pennsylvania plans by metal tier in order to help you find a cheap health insurance policy for your preferred level of coverage.

In addition to the metal tier, the actual cost of a health insurance plan in Pennsylvania will depend on the policy you choose, as well as your age and the number of people insured. For instance, a younger couple with no children will pay cheaper rates than an older couple with multiple children covered.

As you can see below, age alone has a significant impact on health insurance premiums across every tier.

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For the same Silver metal tier health plan, a 40-year-old would pay 28% more than a 21-year-old. The same 40-year-old would pay 112% less than a 60-year-old for the same plan.

The set of insurers and plans available is determined by the county you live in, so not all of the policies listed below are offered everywhere in the state.

But we recommend using these as a starting point to assess the benefits you can expect for a given tier of coverage as compared to premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Metal tierCheapest planDeductibleOut-of-pocket maxMonthly cost for a 40-year-old
CatastrophicTogether Blue Major Events EPO 8550 - 3 Free PCP Visits$8,550$8,550$189
BronzeUPMC Advantage Bronze $6,700/$0 - Partner Network$6,700$8,550$222
SilverTogether Blue EPO Silver 3450 HSA$3,450$6,900$343
GoldTogether Blue EPO Gold 0$0$7,500$326

Finding your best health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania

Where you live in Pennsylvania and your income will determine your best health insurance plan available. Pennsylvania expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, so if your household income is up to 138% of the federal poverty level, you'll qualify for this coverage in the state.

For those who don't qualify for Medicaid, your best health insurance options will typically be through the state marketplace, particularly if you have a low household income.

Many households can qualify for tax subsidies to help lower the cost of health insurance coverage for an exchange plan.

Health insurance plans on the Pennsylvania exchange are divided into metal tiers, which indicate a plan's level of benefits, out-of-pocket expenses and monthly costs.

Gold and Platinum plans: Best for high expected medical costs

The higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold and Platinum plans, come with higher premiums but significantly lower out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

Therefore, they're typically a more cost-effective option if you expect to have consistent or high medical expenses.

For instance, people with consistent prescription needs may want to consider Gold and Platinum plans that have cheap out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs.

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

If you're looking for a middle ground — health insurance with both affordable premiums and out-of-pocket expenses — we typically recommend looking at Silver plans. Silver health insurance plans have lower out-of-pocket costs than Bronze plans, but cheaper monthly premiums than Gold or Platinum policies.

In addition, if you have a lower-income household, Silver plans are eligible for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies, meaning you may qualify for even more affordable deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people with savings

Lower-tier plans, such as Bronze and Catastrophic plans, have lower monthly premiums, but your total expenses will be much higher if you need medical care due to the high cost-sharing features.

Therefore, these plans may be the best cheap option for young and healthy shoppers who have low expected medical needs and enough savings to cover the high deductibles, copays and coinsurance if necessary.

But, keep in mind that Catastrophic plans aren't available to everyone — you'll only qualify for these policies if you're under the age of 30 or meet certain exemptions. Catastrophic plans also are not eligible for premium tax credits.

Health insurance rate changes in Pennsylvania

Health insurance rates are determined by each health insurance provider and then submitted for approval to the federal exchange. For 2021 the cost of Catastrophic health insurance plans fell by an average of 14%. Silver and Gold plans fell by 10% and 9%, respectively. Bronze plans were the only ones to rise, but by only 3%, or $9 per month.

Metal tier20202021Change
Catastrophic$324$279-14%
Bronze$355$3643%
Silver$518$467-10%
Gold$544$496-9%
Premiums are for a 40-year-old adult.

Short-term health insurance in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents can purchase short-term health insurance through providers outside of the health exchange. These policies, which can be purchased at any time during the year, might be a good option if you missed the open enrollment period or lost employer-sponsored coverage.

Pennsylvania follows federal guidelines when it comes to short-term health insurance. Initial coverage is limited to one year, and policies can be renewed for up to 36 months.

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Health insurance companies in Pennsylvania

There are currently 17 health insurance companies on the Pennsylvania state exchange. Available plans vary by county, but policies from Highmark or UPMC are options in most of the state's 67 counties.

  • Highmark Inc.
  • HM Health Insurance Co. (HHIC)
  • UPMC Health Options Inc.
  • UPMC Health Coverage Inc.
  • Highmark Coverage Advantage Inc.
  • Geisinger Quality Options
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • Highmark Choice Co.
  • Pennsylvania Health & Wellness Inc.
  • Highmark Benefits Group
  • Oscar Health Plan of Pennsylvania Inc.
  • First Priority Health
  • Capital Advantage Assurance Co.
  • Capital Advantage Insurance Co.
  • Keystone Health Plan Central
  • QCC Insurance Co.
  • Keystone Health Plan East Inc.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

The insurers and health insurance plans available on the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Marketplace will vary depending on the county you live in. To help you get started finding your best cheap health insurance policy, we identified the cheapest Silver plan in each county in the state.

Below, you can see sample monthly premiums for each of the plans based on your family size.

CountyCheapest planAge 40Couple, age 40Couple, age 40 plus child
AdamsSilver PPO 5950/20/40$460$920$1,196
AlleghenyUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
Armstrongmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
BeaverUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Select Network$286$571$742
BedfordUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
Berksmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$428$856$1,112
BlairUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
BradfordAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
BucksAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$334$667$867
ButlerUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Select Network$286$571$742
Cambriamy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
CameronGeisinger Marketplace All-Access HMO 30/60/4600$407$813$1,056
Carbonmy Priority Blue Flex EPO Silver 1850 HSA$364$728$946
CentreSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
ChesterKeystone HMO Silver Proactive Value$345$691$897
Clarionmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
ClearfieldUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Standard Network$372$744$967
ClintonUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$358$716$930
ColumbiaAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$354$709$921
Crawfordmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
CumberlandSilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
DauphinSilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
DelawareAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$334$667$867
ElkGeisinger Marketplace All-Access HMO 30/60/4600$407$813$1,056
ErieUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
FayetteUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Select Network$286$571$742
Forestmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
FranklinSilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
FultonSilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
Greenemy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
HuntingdonUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Premium Network$357$715$929
IndianaUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Premium Network$357$715$929
JeffersonUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Premium Network$357$715$929
JuniataSilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
LackawannaAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
LancasterSilver PPO Choice 3950/20/35$394$788$1,024
LawrenceUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
LebanonSilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
LehighSilver Valley Advantage EPO 5950/20/40$363$726$943
LuzerneAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
LycomingUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$358$716$930
McKeanUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Premium Network$357$715$929
MercerUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
MifflinSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
MonroeOscar Silver HDHP$319$638$828
MontgomeryAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$334$667$867
MontourSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
NorthamptonSilver Valley Advantage EPO 5950/20/40$363$726$943
NorthumberlandSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
PerrySilver PPO 5950/20/40$396$791$1,028
PhiladelphiaAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$334$667$867
Pikemy Priority Blue Flex EPO Silver 1850 HSA$364$728$946
PotterGeisinger Marketplace All-Access HMO 30/60/4600$407$813$1,056
SchuylkillSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
SnyderSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
Somersetmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
SullivanAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
SusquehannaAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
TiogaUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$358$716$930
UnionSilver PPO 5950/20/40$404$807$1,049
VenangoUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Partner Network$270$540$702
Warrenmy Direct Blue EPO Silver 1850 HSA$350$701$910
WashingtonUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Select Network$286$571$742
WayneAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
WestmorelandUPMC Advantage Silver HSA $2,900/$0 - Select Network$286$571$742
WyomingAmbetter Balanced Care 201 HSA (2021)$300$600$780
YorkSilver PPO 5950/20/40$460$920$1,196

Average cost of health insurance by family size in Pennsylvania

When you purchase a health insurance plan in Pennsylvania, you can also add your spouse and children to the policy, which will increase your premiums with each person covered. The cost of coverage for spouses and children age 15 and up is determined by the age of the person being insured. Children age 14 and younger can be added to your health insurance plan for a cheaper, flat rate.

Though the actual cost will vary according to the plan you choose, as you can see below, the average cost of adding a 40-year-old spouse to a Silver plan is $467. Adding a child to a Silver health insurance plan costs $279, on average.

A family of five in Pennsylvania, with an adult couple and three children, would pay an average health insurance cost of $1,771 per month, or $559 more than a family of three would pay for a Silver plan.
Family sizeAverage monthly premium
Individual plus child$746
Couple, age 40$933
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,213
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,492
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$1,771
Adults are assumed to be 40 years old. Sample rates are based on the average cost of a Silver plan in Pennsylvania.

Methodology

Health insurance rates and plans in Pennsylvania were compiled from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) government website. ValuePenguin used the Public Use Files (PUF) to average premiums by metal tier, county and family size to provide an overall view of the cost of health insurance for the state of Pennsylvania.

Sterling Price

Sterling Price is a research analyst at ValuePenguin specializing in health and life insurance. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Finance and Accounting and has previous experience as a licensed life insurance representative.

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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