Your Options for Affordable Health Insurance Plans in Chicago

Updated: November 9, 2022
Health insurance in Chicago

In most cases, it is possible to obtain health insurance through your place of employment or through government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. Even if none of these alternatives can provide coverage for you, the health insurance in Chicago insurance exchange will still allow you to purchase private insurance policies.

Note that although plans with monthly premiums on the lower end of the metal tier range have greater out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles, they also have lower monthly premiums. Because of this, policyholders should look for policies that best meet their medical requirements. For example, if you frequently visit the doctor, you should choose higher metal tiers with large premiums but smaller maximums.

We examined the cheapest plans available in the Chicago market to cater to a range of ages and demands in order to assist you in locating the best plan and tier for you.

Purchasing a Family and Individual Health Plan in Chicago

You might be a candidate for a new private health insurance plan in Chicago if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have a health plan, but the premiums are too expensive.
  • You are a health plan member, but your coverage requirements have changed.
  • You are enrolled in a group plan, but it doesn’t provide coverage for your spouse or any children.

Finding Cheap Individual & Family Medical Insurance in Chicago

We advise you to compare health insurance quotes jointly and individually if you and your spouse or domestic partner are looking for a new insurance plan in order to locate the one that is most inexpensive for you.

Depending on the health insurance company, the age of the youngest person in the family who has policy may affect the rates for individual and family health insurance in Chicago for couples. Couples with a significant age difference may discover that they might reduce their overall costs by jointly applying for the same plan rather than separately. By enrolling in separate health insurance plans, married couples with a small age gap may be able to reduce their overall spending and save money. If you and your spouse are considering getting health insurance, you should make sure that the plan you choose offers the necessary benefits for both of you.

Chicago’s lowest-cost health insurance by metal tier

With the metal tier system, policyholders choose more expensive, more comprehensive plans or more expensive, less comprehensive plans.

The five levels in Chicago are

  1. Catastrophic
  2. Bronze
  3. Expanded Bronze
  4. Silver
  5. Gold

Higher levels have pricier premiums and smaller deductibles, whereas tiers below Expanded Bronze have lower monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket expenses.

For a 40-year-old individual in Chicago, the average cost of health insurance for each tier is as follows:

  • Catastrophic: $376 per month
  • Bronze: $358
  • Expanded Bronze: $422
  • Silver: $483
  • Gold: $563 per month

For those requiring frequent doctor visits or expensive prescription medications, paying for a Gold plan may be more advantageous because insurance can begin to reimburse expenditures before the maximum restrictions meet.

It should be mentioned that deductibles, premiums, and out-of-pocket maximums are divided into many groups in the Chicago market.

Low-income individuals can be eligible for cost sharing discounts (CSR). This is only available for individuals with Silver plans, but it still represents a fantastic value due to the lower deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

Chicago counties with the cheapest health insurance rates

Location is a key element in determining monthly rates, among other things. Chicago’s geographic region can impact your premiums along with your state of residence. This is due to the rating areas that determine rates in each state.

Chicago contains 102 counties and a total of 13 rating regions, with Cook County having the highest population. The Silver 5000 from Bright Health, which has a monthly cost of $337 on average, is the least expensive Silver plan in the region. You can also check health insurance in Illinois if you’re looking for health insurance in cities other than Chicago.

Chicago’s cheapest health insurance that has high out-of-pocket maximums

A more affordable plan with a higher out-of-pocket maximum might appeal to younger Chicago residents with less healthcare needs. Despite the fact that you will be responsible for paying a large sum out of pocket in the event of a medical emergency, this provides some coverage at a reasonable price.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Chicago’s Blue FocusCare Bronze 209 plan is the most affordable choice for health insurance in the state. This plan is offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Chicago. On this Expanded Bronze-tier plan, a person who is 26 years old will spend an average of $215 each and every month.

According to NewHealthInsurance, a plan is considered to have a high out-of-pocket maximum if it has a cap of $8,250 or more.

Chicago’s cheapest health insurance that has low out-of-pocket maximums

Chicago residents who require more medical care than the average person might prefer to enroll in a more expensive plan with lower out-of-pocket maximums. Even while the monthly cost may be higher, frequent medical visits or the need for prescription medications will help you quickly approach the cap, guaranteeing that coverage begins sooner.

According to us, a low out-of-pocket limit is one that is less than $4,250. The state of Chicago’s $3,000 maximum out-of-pocket limit makes it simple for citizens to obtain coverage more quickly.

Most affordable HMO, PPO, and POS health insurance plan in Chicago

Your healthcare needs and preferences should be taken into account when choosing the sort of plan you buy. HMOs are the most prevalent form in Chicago; however, PPO and POS plans are also available.

Plans offered by health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are the least expensive, but they also have some restrictions. With these plans, you can only see providers in your network, and expert referrals are required. Preferred provider organization (PPO) plans are more expensive but offer greater freedom, allowing you to select doctors from inside or outside your network and forgo the need for recommendations. The middle ground is point-of-service (POS) plans, which let you select any provider but charge extra for those outside the network.

For 40-year-olds in Chicago, the Silver tier health plans with the lowest premiums are:

  • HMO: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Chicago’s Blue FocusCare Silver 210 plan, which costs, on average, $357 per month.
  • PPO: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Chicago’s Blue Choice Preferred Silver PPO 203 plan costs an average of $580 a month.
  • POS: The Health Alliance 2021 POS 3000 Elite Silver plan costs, on average, $570 per month.

Cost-Effective Chicago Strategy Those in Chicago who are generally healthy and don’t plan to make frequent trips to the doctor may want to consider opening an HSA. This more affordable option enables you to accumulate pre-tax funds for subsequent medical costs. Unfortunately, a large number of plans have high deductibles, which means that you may have to pay additional money in the event of a medical emergency.

Cheapest metal tier plans in Chicago

The cheapest plans in Chicago for all accessible metal tiers with an HSA option are as follows for a 40-year-old profile:

  • Expanded Bronze: WellFirst Health’s WellFirst Bronze HSA-E 6850X plan runs about $357 per month on average.
  • Silver: WellFirst Health’s WellFirst Silver HSA-E 4500X plan runs about $490 a month on average.
  • Gold:  MercyCare HMO Gold Option C plan of MercyCare Health Plan runs about $469 a month on average.

What Chicago Residents Should Know About Health Insurance

Our pricing are based on private plan data from Chicago markets, however you may find cheaper plans after applying for a plan. Medicaid and Medicare are much less expensive than any marketplace plans for Chicago consumers with lower incomes or elderly residents.

The Chicago Marketplace for Private Health Insurance

Plans in Chicago’s private health insurance market are separated into five metal levels. Each metal tier has its own benefits and drawbacks while adhering to the minimum specifications set forth by the federal and state governments:

  • Catastrophic: This category has the lowest premiums and the fewest benefits, but it also has the highest deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. The best people for this are those who would like some coverage but don’t go to the doctor very often. This level is only for people under 30 or those who meet the “hardship” exemption criteria.
  • Bronze: The Bronze tier is good for people who often don’t go to the doctor but still want to be covered in the worst-case scenario. This is because the monthly premiums are low, but the out-of-pocket costs are high. It’s important to know that the policyholder will often have to pay for routine care, like checkups.
  • Expanded Bronze: This metal tier must cover at least one “major service,” such as an emergency or lab service, before the deductible is satisfied. This gives it greater advantages than the Bronze or Catastrophic plans, which are the lowest tiers.
  • Silver: The monthly premiums and out-of-pocket payments for the Silver tier are the most affordable option overall. People eligible for cost-sharing reductions should strongly consider selecting this plan because it provides them with coverage at the Gold level for the same price as the Silver level. People who desire a greater portion of their routine medical treatment to be covered can also benefit from this provision.
  • Gold: The monthly premiums for Gold are the most expensive and the out-of-pocket costs are the lowest. It’s great for people who often need to see a doctor because insurance coverage starts much sooner after out-of-pocket maximums are met.
Point to ponder!

Please note that despite our examination of different age groups and tiers, getting better plans at lower costs is still possible because insurers base rates on your specific position and income level.

For example, you might be eligible for premium tax credits if your annual income is between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). This is for two-person households in Chicago that make between $17,420 and $69,680 a year.

There is a window of time within which you can register for a new plan in Chicago’s private health insurance market. This is often between the months of November and December and is known as open enrollment. The pandemic has, however, led to longer enrollment windows.

Chicago Medicaid

Since Illinois is a Medicaid expansion state, residents of Chicago who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) are eligible for this public health insurance program. More than three million people were enrolled in Medicaid in November 2020, giving them access to a low-cost health insurance alternative that can assist cover the majority, if not all, of eligible medical expenses.

Chicago Medicare

Medicare, which can dramatically lower medical costs, may be available to anyone over 65 or with a qualifying disease or handicap. This federal government program covers particular medical treatments, which include the following components:

Hospital insurance Part A provides coverage for in-patient stays, hospice care, and care received in a skilled nursing facility.

  • Medicare Part B: This section of your health insurance covers outpatient care, physician fees, preventative services, and medical supplies.
  • Medicare Part D: This contributes to the cost of prescription medications or immunizations.


Our study is based on estimates, so the most cost-effective choice for you will depend on your needs and personality. Our research says that no single plan in Chicago has a guarantee to be the cheapest for you. This is just a suggestion.

We looked at the Health Insurance Exchange Public Use Files (Exchange PUFs) to find plans and prices for health insurance in Chicago. We did this for all metal tiers and for people of different ages.

On this page, the estimated cost of health insurance premiums does not include any premium tax credits or cost-sharing subsidies that customers may be eligible for.


How much does health insurance typically cost in Chicago?

A Silver health insurance plan in Chicago typically costs $556 a month. This rate is more than 2% higher than the $541 monthly national average.

In Chicago, how do I obtain health insurance?

You would apply to the federal health insurance market to obtain health insurance in Chicago. You can browse and contrast plans or register for an online application. You’ll find out if you are eligible for cost-sharing or premium assistance throughout the application process.

What Chicago health insurance is the best?

Starting with the 2022 POS 3000 Elite plan from Health Alliance Medical Plans Inc. is what we advise for the finest affordable health insurance in Chicago. In 53% of the counties in Chicago, this is the least expensive Silver plan. For residents of 20% of counties, the Blue Choice Preferred Silver PPO is the least expensive choice if the Elite plan is unavailable where you live. Other plan tiers that are available in Chicago include Catastrophic, Bronze, Bronze Expanded, and Gold. These plans offer different levels of coverage and may be a better option for you depends on how often you use the hospital system.

Visit our website to learn more.

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