Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Pennsylvania in 2022

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Pennsylvania in 2022

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The cheapest health insurance in Pennsylvania for most people is from Ambetter Balanced Care 30, which is the most affordable Silver plan in 28% of the state's counties. The cheapest Silver plan in the state is UPMC VirtualCare Silver (Partner Network). However, this plan is only available in Allegheny and Erie counties.

For a 40-year-old, the average cost of health insurance in Pennsylvania is $498 per month for a Silver plan.

Affordable health insurance plans in Pennsylvania are available through the state exchange, though some shoppers can qualify for Medicaid depending on their household income. In 2022, the average cost of health insurance in the state is $441 per month, remaining flat since 2021.

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.

The cheapest Silver plan in Pennsylvania costs $312 per month for a 40-year-old.

In addition to the metal tier, the actual cost of a health insurance plan in Pennsylvania depends 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.

Average cost of health insurance in Pennsylvania by metal tier

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For a Silver tier health plan, a 40-year-old would pay 28% more than a 21-year-old. The same 40-year-old would pay about half of what a 60-year-old pays for a Silver 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 tier
Cheapest plan
Cost
Deductible
Out-of-pocket maximum
BronzeUPMC Advantage Bronze (Partner Network)$222$6,700$8,700
SilverUPMC VirtualCare Silver (Partner Network)$312$4,500$8,700
GoldUPMC Advantage Gold HSA (Partner Network)$279$3,100$4,000

Monthly rates for a 40-year-old.

Finding your best health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania

Where you live in Pennsylvania and your income will determine the best health insurance plan available to you. Pennsylvania expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 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 to moderate 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 plans: best for high expected medical costs

Gold plans are the highest metal tier offered in Pennsylvania, and 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 high medical expenses or ongoing health needs.

For instance, people who regularly take medication may want to consider Gold 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 expenses will be much higher if you need medical care due to the high cost-sharing features.

Therefore, Bronze 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.

We haven't included Catastrophic plans in our cost analysis because these plans aren't available to everyone and they're not eligible for premium tax credits. You'll only qualify for these policies if you're under the age of 30 or meet certain exemptions.

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 2022, the cost of Bronze and Gold plans in Pennsylvania fell by 4%. However the cost of Silver plans increased by 7% — that's about $31 more per month.

Metal tier
2021
2022
% change
Bronze$364$348-4%
Silver$467$4987%
Gold$496$476-4%

Monthly cost for a 40-year-old.

Short-term health insurance in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents can purchase short-term health insurance directly 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 nine health insurance companies on the Pennsylvania state exchange. Available plans vary by county, but policies from Highmark or UPMC are offered in most of the state's 67 counties.

  • Ambetter from PA Health & Wellness
  • Capital Blue Cross
  • Cigna
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Highmark Inc.
  • Independence Blue Cross
  • Oscar
  • UPMC Health Plan

Among these insurers, UPMC offers the absolute cheapest plan in the state for each metal tier, making it a great choice for affordable health insurance.

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 where you live. For example, the cheapest Silver plan in Philadelphia is Ambetter Balanced Care 30, which costs $386 for a 40-year-old in the county. However, in Pittsburgh, residents would pay $312 for their cheapest option from UPMC.

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.

County
Cheapest plan
Adult
Couple
AdamsCapital Blue Cross Silver PPO 6000/20/40$615$1,231
AlleghenyUPMC VirtualCare Silver $4,500/$0 - Partner Network$312$625
ArmstrongUPMC VirtualCare Silver $4,500/$0 - Select Network$330$660
BeaverUPMC VirtualCare Silver $4,500/$0 - Select Network$330$660
BedfordUPMC Advantage Silver $3,500/$40 - Partner Network$370$740
Show All Rows

Rates based on a 40-year-old.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a penalty for not having health insurance in Pennsylvania?

No, there is no penalty if you don't have health insurance in Pennsylvania. While you must report whether you have coverage on your federal tax return, you are not charged a penalty if you are uninsured.

Who is eligible for Pennie?

All Pennsylvania residents who are citizens or U.S. nationals or have a qualified immigration status may use Pennie, the state health insurance exchange, to review ACA plans and apply for coverage. Pennie will also help you determine if you're eligible for lower monthly payments.

Does Pennsylvania have free health care?

Pennsylvania has free or low-cost health care through the Pennsylvania Medicaid program. You can get information on cost, eligibility and how to apply through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Methodology

Health insurance rates and plans in Pennsylvania were compiled from the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority (PHIEA). Average insurance costs were calculated based on metal tier, county and family size to provide an overall view of the cost of health insurance for the state of Pennsylvania.

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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