Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Washington, D.C. 2022

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Washington, D.C. 2022

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The cheapest Silver health insurance plan in Washington, D.C., is the KP DC Silver Virtual Forward 4000 from Kaiser Permanente.

The average cost of a Silver health insurance plan in Washington, D.C., is $424 per month for a 40-year-old.

Individual health insurance in Washington, D.C., is available for purchase through DC Health Link. There, you can find a policy that fits your medical needs and financial situation. Two companies sell health plans in Washington, D.C.: Kaiser Permanente and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

Cheapest health insurance coverage by metal tier

To help you find the best health insurance, we compared plans at each metal level and found the most affordable policies in Washington, D.C. The table below shows the cheapest health insurance plan for each metal tier, along with the deductible, out-of-pocket maximum and monthly premium for a 40-year-old.

We recommend starting your insurance search with Kaiser Permanente, which offers the cheapest plans across the metal tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
Deductible
Out-of-pocket maximum
BronzeKP DC Standard Bronze 6350/20%/HSA/Vision$348$6,350$6,900
SilverKP DC Silver Virtual Forward 4000$382$4,000$8,550
GoldKP DC Gold Virtual Forward 2000$417$2,000$5,000
PlatinumKP DC Standard Platinum 0/20/Vision$534$0$2,000

Health insurance in Washington, D.C., is broken into five plan tiers: Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Within the metal tiers, Bronze plans tend to have the lowest premiums but high deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums . Generally, higher-tier plans have lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums but costlier premiums. In Washington, D.C., the out-of-pocket maximum for the cheapest Silver plan is higher than that of the Gold plan. But cost-sharing reductions are available on Silver plans for those who qualify, which could greatly reduce total out-of-pocket costs, depending on your income and policy usage.

Age is a primary factor in determining your monthly premium. The graph below shows the average monthly premium for each tier of coverage depending on the insured's age.

Cost of health insurance in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., a 40-year-old pays $108 more per month for a Silver policy compared to a 21-year-old. As you get older, policies become even more expensive, with 60-year-olds paying $489 more per month than 40-year-olds.

Finding the best health insurance coverage in Washington, D.C.

When searching for the best health insurance, consider your level of income and expected medical expenses. We suggest starting with Medicaid, which covers Washington, D.C., residents with a household income below 205% of the federal poverty level. If you don't qualify for Medicaid, you can purchase an individual health insurance policy through the D.C. marketplace. Review plan details for each tier to find the policy that best fits your medical needs and budget.

Gold and Platinum metal tiers: Best if you expect high medical expenses

The Gold and Platinum metal tiers are often best if you are older or expect to incur a lot in medical expenses during the year. These plans typically have higher premiums but lower deductibles. This means you meet the deductible quicker, after which the insurer portion of coverage kicks in. If you have expensive monthly prescriptions, for example, a Gold or Platinum plan is usually cheaper in the long run.

The cheapest Gold plan in Washington, D.C., is the KP DC Gold Virtual Forward 2000, and the cheapest Platinum plan is the KP DC Standard Platinum 0/20/Vision. Compare all tiers in Washington, D.C., above.

Silver metal tier: Average deductibles and premiums

Silver metal tier plans have moderate deductibles and premiums compared to the other tiers. For example, the average cost of a Silver plan for a 40-year-old in Washington, D.C., is $424 per month. This rate is $42 more expensive than a Bronze plan and $78 less than a Gold plan.

Silver plans are the only health insurance policies eligible for cost-sharing reductions if your household income falls below 250% of the federal poverty level. These reductions allow for discounts on the amount you pay in deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Due to this benefit, a Silver plan might be more cost-effective than a Gold plan or a Bronze plan.

The cheapest Silver plan in Washington, D.C., is the KP DC Standard Platinum 0/20/Vision. Compare all tiers in Washington, D.C., above.

Bronze and Catastrophic tiers: Best for young, healthy individuals

The cheapest metal policies are in the Bronze tier. These plans have the lowest premiums but also higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. For this reason, Bronze is best if you are young and in good health.

The cheapest Bronze plan in Washington, D.C., is the KP DC Standard Bronze 6350/20%/HSA/Vision. Compare all tiers in Washington, D.C., above.

Catastrophic plans typically provide the lowest premiums but the highest out-of-pocket costs for routine care. However, to apply for a Catastrophic plan, you must be under age 30 or qualify for an exemption. The cheapest Catastrophic policy in Washington, D.C., is the BlueChoice HMO Young Adult from CareFirst, which costs $126 per month for a 21-year-old.

Short-term health insurance in Washington, D.C.

Short-term health insurance is allowed in Washington, D.C., for a three-month maximum term with no renewals. But no insurance companies currently offer short-term insurance in the District of Columbia.

Health insurance companies in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., only two insurance companies offer plans on the state health insurance marketplace: Kaiser Permanente and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Both companies offer multiple plan choices throughout the district to help you find an option that best fits your needs. For cheaper premiums, start your search with Kaiser plans, which offer the lowest rates in all metal tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Health insurance rate changes in Washington, D.C.

Health insurance in Washington, D.C., is regulated through the D.C. and federal health insurance exchange. Insurance providers adjust plan premiums and other out-of-pocket costs annually, and the new amounts are then approved for the following plan year.

In 2022, average health insurance premiums for metal tiers in Washington, D.C., increased. Bronze rates rose the most, with policies costing 6% more for 2022 compared to 2021.

Metal tier
Change from 2021 to 2022
Bronze6%
Silver5%
Gold3%
Platinum3%

Monthly rates are for a 40-year-old adult.

Frequently asked questions

Is health insurance mandatory in Washington, D.C.?

Yes, health insurance is required for residents of Washington, D.C. If you don't maintain insurance or qualify for an exemption, you must pay a penalty when filing your D.C. tax return. The penalty is based on the number of months you or your family go without health coverage.

What is the best health insurance in Washington, D.C.?

The best health insurance depends mainly on your personal needs. If you require extensive medical care or prescriptions, you may do best with a Gold or Platinum plan, such as the KP DC Gold Virtual Forward 2000 or the KP DC Standard Platinum 0/20/Vision plan. These policies have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs, making them cheaper options for frequent health care users. Consumers who use insurance less often may find a Bronze plan, such as the KP DC Standard Bronze 6350/20%/HSA/Vision, is the best fit for their health needs and budget.

Can I get free health insurance in Washington, D.C.?

Washington, D.C., residents who meet income and other requirements may be able to get free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid.

Methodology

ValuePenguin gathered health insurance rates and plan details from the Washington, D.C., health insurance exchange, DC Health Link. Using this information, we calculated average rates across the district by age and plan tier. Year-over-year rate changes were calculated based on filings by the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.

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.