Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Wisconsin 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Wisconsin 2021

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Affordable health insurance is available in Wisconsin through the state's marketplace. Finding your best health insurance can be difficult, so to help you get started, we analyzed all Silver policies available on the state exchange. We found that in the majority of Wisconsin, the Envision - Silver 7000/75 was the cheapest health plan. However, availability and costs vary across counties.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

For 2021 plans, the average health insurance premium is $455 in Wisconsin for a 40-year-old. This represents a 5% decrease, or $31 per month lower rates, on average.

We compared policies in Wisconsin by metal tier to find the most affordable health insurance policy at each level of coverage you may see on the state exchange. Although availability depends on the county you live in, the table provides a good starting point to compare the costs and benefits you may expect from a given metal tier.

Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Maximum out-of-pocket
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
BronzeDean Focus Network Bronze Value Copay 8500X$8,500$8,500$260
Expanded BronzeDean Focus Network Bronze Copay Plus 8500X$8,500$8,500$267
SilverEnvision - Silver 7000/75$7,000$8,550$386
GoldMercyCare HMO Gold Option B$7,900$2,250$348
PlatinumSelect Platinum 500 Ded/1500 MOOP$500$1,500$477
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As you can see above, health plans with a higher metal tier have higher rates. Although the cheapest options for health insurance plans in Wisconsin do offer low rates, they are limited in availability by location.

Average Monthly Cost of Health Insurance Plans by Metal Tier in Wisconsin

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In addition to a policy's metal tier, your age is an important factor in determining the cost of a health insurance plan. As age increases, health insurance premiums across all metal tiers rise. For example, the average price difference between a 21-year-old and a 40-year-old ranges from $81 to $119 in Wisconsin, depending on the metal tier of health plan you choose. A 40-year-old would pay $116 more per month than a 21-year-old for a Silver plan, but only $81 more on average with a Bronze plan.

Learn how we conducted this analysis in our: Methodology

Finding your best health insurance coverage in Wisconsin

The best health insurance plan for you in Wisconsin will depend on the county you live in, as even the same policy may have different monthly premiums based on where you live. For example, the Atlas $3000 HSA Silver plan has a monthly premium of $493 in Pierce County, but costs $59 more per month in Douglas County.

Typically, higher metal tier policies have costlier monthly premiums, but they also provide lower out-of-pocket expenses, like deductibles, copays and coinsurance. If you think you may become sick or already have high recurring medical costs, like prescriptions, a higher metal tier policy may be the best choice for you. Alternatively, if you're young and healthy, a lower metal tier may help you to save money.

Gold and Platinum plans: best for high expected medical costs

Platinum and Gold plans are considered higher metal tier health plans. They typically cover the greatest share of out-of-pocket costs, which means lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance. But these benefits come at the expense of a higher monthly premium.

Generally, these health insurance plans are the best in terms of cost-effectiveness if you expect to incur high medical expenses, such as from chronic conditions, or have costly prescriptions. For example, on average, you can expect a Gold plan to cover roughly 80% of your health care expenses, while you pay the other 20%.

Silver plans: best for those with low income or average medical costs

Silver policies offer a middle ground between higher metal tier plans, like Platinum or Gold, and lower metal tier plans, like Bronze or Expanded Bronze. For middle and higher-income households, in terms of monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, Silver plans fall between higher and lower metal tier plans.

But lower-income households can qualify for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies with a Silver health plan, which would further lower your out-of-pocket expenses. Typical Silver plans cover about 70% of your health care costs, while you pay 30%. But under CSR subsidies, you could qualify for a Silver plan that covers up to 94% of your health care costs.

Bronze and Expanded Bronze plans: best for young, healthy people

Bronze plans may offer low monthly rates, but are limited to those under 30 years old or those who qualify for an exemption. Furthermore, these plans provide the least coverage and are only recommended if you have the financial means to cover a large portion of your health care expenses in case of an emergency. For example, in Pepin County, the Select Bronze 8550 plan has a deductible of $8,550, which is more than $5,000 greater than the deductible on the Select Gold 3500/30 plan in Pepin County.

Bronze plans are open to everyone and similarly offer cheaper monthly premiums than higher metal tier plans alongside reduced coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs. So, if you need medical care during the year, you would have to pay more money out of pocket before coverage kicks in. On average, you can expect a Bronze plan to cover about 60% of your health costs, while you pay for the other 40%. Expanded Bronze plans increase coverage to about 65%, while you pay roughly 35%.

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Short-term health insurance in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents may purchase short-term health insurance through private health insurance companies, although the state imposes stricter guidelines on this type of plan when compared to federal guidelines. Initial coverage is limited to one year and may be renewed for up to 18 months.

You should consider a short-term health insurance plan if you need temporary coverage or lost coverage through your employer. These policies do not cover the essential health benefits including maternity care, mental health services or prescription drugs.

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Best cheap health insurance companies in Wisconsin

With 13 health insurance companies, the health insurance marketplace in Wisconsin has one of the country's largest selection of insurers.

Wisconsin Health Insurance Companies

  • Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Children's Community Health Plan
  • Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative
  • Dean Health Plan
  • Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
  • HealthPartners Insurance Company
  • Medica Community Health Plan
  • MercyCare HMO, Inc.
  • Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Network Health Plan
  • Quartz Health Benefit Plans Corporation
  • Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • WPS Health Plan, Inc.

Although there are 13 companies across the state, most counties only have two or three health insurers to choose from, and no health insurance company is available in every county. When possible, we recommend starting your search with either Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative or Dean Health Plan, as they usually offer the cheapest Silver plans in a given county.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

Because the county you live in determines the availability of health insurers, policies available and their rates, finding the best health plan for you may be difficult. To make this process simpler, in the table below we compared rates for every policy in Wisconsin to find the cheapest Silver health plan in each county.

Cheapest plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Couple, age 40 and child
AdamsDean Silver HSA-E 4500X$384$918$691
AshlandMedica Individual Choice Silver Copay$459$1,099$827
BarronEngage by Medica Silver Copay$573$1,369$1,031
BayfieldMedica Individual Choice Silver Copay$459$1,099$827
BrownEnvision - Silver 7000/75$346$827$622
BuffaloQuartz One Silver I303$474$1,134$854
BurnettMedica Individual Choice Silver Copay$459$1,099$827
CalumetEnvision - Silver 7000/75$352$841$633
ChippewaEngage by Medica Silver Copay$563$1,346$1,013
ClarkHMO HDHP Silver 5500$552$1,320$994
ColumbiaHMO HDHP Silver 5500$430$1,029$775
CrawfordDean Silver HSA-E 4500X$396$948$714
Show All Rows
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Average cost of health insurance by family size in Wisconsin

Metal tier and age play an important role in determining the cost for individual monthly premiums, but in addition to these, family size will affect your monthly health insurance rates. In Wisconsin, the average cost of health insurance for a family of three, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child, is $1,384.

For each additional child, the average cost of a Silver health plan increases by $319, so a family of four, assuming two parents and two children, would pay an average of $1,703 per month for health coverage. Note that the cost of insuring children through age 14 remains flat, but once they turn 15 years old, the monthly premium will increase as they get older.

Family size
Average monthly cost of health plan
Individual and child$851
Couple, age 40$1,065
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,384
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,703
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$2,022

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

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Health insurance rate changes in Wisconsin

Policy premiums are set by individual health companies. Then, once the rates have been determined by an insurer, they are sent to the federal health insurance exchange for approval.

In Wisconsin, the average cost of a health plan is 5% cheaper in 2021 than in 2020. The typical rate for all policy-types has increased except for Bronze plans, which haven’t had a significant change in price.

Metal tier
2020 premium
2021 premium
% change
Expanded Bronze$408$387-5.09%

Rates are based on a 40-year-old adult.

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The health insurance premiums and plan information used in this analysis were sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. ValuePenguin determined the average rates by metal tier, family size and region by referencing cost data from CMS's Public Use Files (PUF).

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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