Obamacare: cheapest plan options

What is the cheapest Obamacare plan?


Dear Curious,

What you pay for your health insurance under health reform is related to how old you are, where you live, and how much money you earn.  Health insurers are also allowed to base your rate on whether you smoke.

The age parameter is self-explanatory, but where you live and your salary may be less obvious.  Health insurers calculate rates which are approved in each state.  Even within one state, the same plan might have a different rate for people in one part of the state than another part.  This is based upon how many healthcare providers are there, among other factors.

Last, your annual salary determines how much subsidy (government help) that you get to buy your health insurance plan. If you live in certain states and you earn less than 138% of Federal Poverty, then you would get Medicaid instead of a private health insurance plan.  Medicaid does not charge any monthly premiums.

So, the cheapest plan is the one that works for your age, your state, and your financial situation.  The person who will pay the least is young, lives in a densely populated state, and earns enough to qualify for subsidies but not too much to have to pay the monthly cost herself.  (In some states, low-income people qualify for Medicaid which has no monthly cost.  I suppose that is the cheapest, but I assumed you meant private health insurance rather than a public plan.)

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.