Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Washington 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Washington 2021

Find Cheap Health Insurance Quotes in Washington

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In Washington, individual health insurance is available for purchase through the HealthPlanFinder marketplace. Health coverage is also available through Medicaid if your household income falls below 138% of the federal poverty level. After reviewing policies from all counties in Washington, we found that the Ambetter Balanced Care 1 (2021) was the cheapest Silver plan available in 16 of the counties.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

Washington state's individual health insurance is broken down into three different metal tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold. We researched and compared policies offered in all counties to identify the most affordable health plan at each metal tier. These are the cheapest policies overall, but plan availability depends on the county in which you live. Therefore, the table below should be used as an initial starting point to identify a metal tier that fits your needs and income.

Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Deductible
Maximum out-of-pocket cost
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
BronzeAmbetter Essential Care 1 (2021)$8,300$8,300$252
SilverAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$5,650$7,350$344
GoldAmbetter Secure Care 1 (2021) with 3 Free PCP Visits$1,050$6,450$385
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As you can see, the higher metal tiers have higher premiums but lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. For example, the Ambetter Secure Care 1 (2021) with 3 Free PCP Visits has a premium that costs $133 more per month than the Ambetter Essential Care 1 (2021), but the deductible is $7,250 less expensive.

The health insurance quote you receive will be determined by your age as well. Since you are more likely to use more health services when you are older, health coverage and premiums will become more expensive as you age. For example, for a Silver tier policy, a 40-year-old would pay 24% more than a 21-year-old for health insurance in Washington—or $85 more per month on average.

Finding the best health insurance coverage in Washington

The best health insurance coverage for you will depend on your level of income and medical needs. Besides individual health insurance, Washington offers Medicaid coverage through its Apple Health program. Furthermore, the state has passed legislation that expands Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Household incomes that are less than 138% of the federal poverty level can enroll in federally funded health care.

Before choosing a plan, you should analyze the premiums and deductibles for each metal tier and decide on affordability based on your income and savings. Below, we have provided an in-depth look at each metal tier and broken down situations in which they make the most sense.

Start with Silver plans

We recommend starting your search with Silver plans, as these policies have moderate premiums and deductibles.

This policy would work best in most situations unless you are very healthy or expect a number of expensive medical costs. In that case, Bronze or Gold coverage may work better for you.

Silver policies are the only health insurance plans that offer cost-sharing reductions if your income falls below 250% of the federal poverty level. A cost-sharing reduction is an added benefit that decreases the amount you pay for copays, coinsurance and deductibles. For this reason, Silver tier policies can sometimes be the most cost-effective plan offered on the health insurance exchange.

Bronze: Best for young, healthy individuals

Bronze plans are the cheapest plans offered on the Washington HealthPlanFinder marketplace. Although these plans have a low premium, they have high deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, which makes reaching the coinsurance level difficult. For this reason, Bronze tier policies are best if you are healthy and want coverage in case of an extremely costly, unexpected medical expense.

Bronze plans are available to anyone in Washington.

Gold plans: Best if you have high medical expenses

The top and most expensive tier offered in Washington is Gold. These plans are often the best if you expect to have high medical costs during the plan year. In this case, since the deductible is the lowest available, you would be able to reach it quickly and then have access to coinsurance with your health plan provider.

Short-term health insurance in Washington

Historically, Washington has banned the sale of short-term health insurance. However, the state adopted new rules in 2019 allowing insurers to sell short-term health insurance with a maximum coverage length of three months. Currently, LifeMap Assurance Company is the only insurer offering short-term health insurance plans in Washington.

Find Cheap Health Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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Best cheap health insurance companies in Washington

There are currently 11 health insurance providers on the Washington state marketplace:

  • BridgeSpan
  • Community Health Network of Washington
  • Coordinated Care
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • LifeWise WA
  • Molina Healthcare
  • PacificSource
  • Premera
  • Providence Health Plan
  • Regence
  • UnitedHealthcare

Although all of these insurance companies sell policies in the state, they may not offer plans in your county. For example, Garfield County residents only have access to policies offered by LifeWise WA and Coordinated Care.

Cheapest Silver plan by county

The cost of your health insurance and the available policies will vary depending on the county in which you live. For example, the Molina Cascade Silver has a monthly premium of $381 for a 40-year-old in Pierce County, but it costs only $369 per month for the same person in Snohomish County. Below, we have identified the cheapest Silver policy available for the 39 counties in Washington state.

County
Cheapest plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Average
Pend OreilleAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$344$688$347
FerryAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$344$688$347
StevensAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$344$688$347
LincolnAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$344$688$351
SpokaneAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$344$688$373
KingPremera Blue Cross Preferred Bronze EPO 6350$358$717$381
KittitasAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021) + Vision$365$729$382
BentonAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021) + Vision$365$729$390
YakimaAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021) + Vision$365$729$385
Franklin CountyAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021)$365$730$393
KitsapAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021) + Vision$366$733$403
Jefferson CountyAmbetter Balanced Care 1 (2021) + Vision$366$733$399
Show All Rows

Sample rates are monthly premiums.

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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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