Health Insurance Plans in Illinois
You can purchase health insurance from one of four health insurance companies in Illinois that sell policies on the state exchange. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Celtic Insurance Co., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois Inc., and Health Alliance Medical Plans Inc. each offer coverage for Illinois residents, but plan availability varies by county. For example, the Blue Choice Preferred Silver PPO 203 is the cheapest plan in 50 percent of the counties in Illinois, while Cigna’s Connect 4000 is the most affordable plan in seven counties. Before you purchase one of the available health insurance plans in Illinois, get details on the policies by tier and learn more about the coverage you need.
Cheap Health Insurance Plans in Illinois by Metal Tier
You can choose from Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Catastrophic coverage when buying cheap health insurance in Illinois. Finding the most economical plan for each metal tier is a good starting point when looking for health insurance. Keep in mind that one or more of these plans might not be available in your county. Also, the quotes listed are for an average 40-year-old Illinois resident. Premiums can go up and down depending on age.
Catastrophic plans sit at the bottom of the metal tier system. The Catastrophic plan with the lowest cost available on the Illinois state exchange is the HMO 7350 Elite Catastrophic. The monthly premium is $333.32 and the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are $7,350.
Bronze plans are a step up from Catastrophic plans, so it may come as a surprise that you can pay less for a Bronze plan in Illinois. The Cigna Connect 7150 Bronze plan has a monthly premium of $304.82. The deductible is $7,150, and the out-of-pocket maximum is $7,350.
Expanded Bronze plans are also an option in Illinois. If you want cheap health insurance in Illinois, consider the HMO 6650a Elite Bronze plan. The plan has a monthly premium of $406.90. The deductible is $6,650, and the out-of-pocket maximum is $7,350.
Silver plans are among the most popular health insurance plans in Illinois, and the Ambetter Balanced Care 4: IlliniCare Health Network plan is the most economical option. The monthly premium is $402.98, making it more affordable than the cheapest Expanded Bronze plan. The deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are $7,050.
Finally, you can get a Gold plan. Blue FocusCare Gold 211 is the most affordable plan, with a monthly premium of $487.99, a deductible of $500, and an out-of-pocket maximum of $7,350.
These prices give you a good idea of what to expect when shopping for cheap health insurance in Illinois. However, if you are 21 years old, you can expect to pay $99 less per month for a Bronze plan and $139 less per month for a Silver plan. On the other hand, if you are 60 years old, your monthly premiums will likely be 53 percent more than the premiums for a 40-year-old, regardless of the tier.
Choosing Health Insurance Plans in Illinois
Before deciding on one of the health insurance plans in Illinois, it’s essential to understand that the premium isn’t everything. You also need to consider the out-of-pocket costs and the amount of coverage you’ll need. While Gold plans typically have the highest premiums, these plans also have the lowest out-of-pocket costs. The opposite is true for Catastrophic and Bronze plans. These plans typically have the lowest premiums and highest out-of-pocket costs. You must consider your needs before determining which will save you the most money.
Gold Plans – Ideal for High Medical Costs
If you expect to have lots of medical expenses throughout the year, a Gold tier plan is likely the right choice for you. While these plans have the highest premiums, they also have the lowest co-pays and deductibles, so you can expect to save money over the course of the year. These plans also typically provide the best prescription coverage, making them ideal for those who take medications.
Silver Plans – Ideal for Average Medical Costs and/or Low Incomes
Silver plans sit in the middle of the metal tier and offer the best of both worlds for subscribers. The premiums are lower than premiums for Gold plans, and the out-of-pocket expenses are lower than with Catastrophic and Bronze health insurance plans in Illinois.
People with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level might also be eligible for cost-sharing reductions for these plans. The reductions lower the out-of-pocket costs even further. First, people need to see if they qualify for Medicaid. Illinois expanded its Medicaid coverage and now accepts more people than ever before. Low-income families and individuals that don’t qualify for expanded Medicaid often qualify for cost-sharing reductions.
Catastrophic and Bronze Plans – Ideal for Healthy Young People
If you are young, healthy, and unlikely to use your policy very often, consider a Catastrophic or Bronze level plan. Catastrophic plans are only available to people under the age of 30, but Bronze plans are available for all Illinois residents. Make sure you have money in savings to cover medical emergencies before purchasing one of these plans. Look at the deductible to determine how much you need to have in savings before purchasing the plan.
Short-Term Health Insurance in Illinois
You cannot purchase short-term health insurance in Illinois from the state exchange due to federal regulations. You can buy it from providers that operate outside of the exchange. Policies provide coverage for less than six months, but you can renew yours for up to 36 months. Illinois regulates how often you can purchase these policies from the same insurer. You must wait 60 days after the insurance expires to purchase another policy from the same insurance company.
Get Help Comparing Health Insurance Plans in Illinois
There are lots of options when looking for health insurance plans in Illinois, and it can be difficult to make a decision. You want an affordable premium plus the right amount of coverage, and if you make a mistake, you could end up with a huge medical bill. Avoid that problem by consulting with a licensed insurance agent. Call 1-888-497-1683 to compare policies and purchase the one that works best for you.