Arkansas residents can sign up for affordable health coverage through the state health insurance exchange, and Medicaid provides free or low-cost coverage to those who qualify based on income.
For 2023, the average monthly cost of health insurance in Arkansas is $476 for a 40-year-old.
We analyzed all of the health insurance policies on the state exchange and found that the Ambetter CMS Standard Silver is the cheapest Silver plan in Arkansas and available in 22 of the state’s 75 counties. Although this may be the lowest-cost Silver health plan, you may want to purchase a plan in a different metal tier, as the best health insurance policy for you depends on your medical and financial situation.
We compared health insurance plans in Arkansas to find the cheapest policy
available for each tier of coverage. The available insurers and policies may change depending on the county you live in, but the table below serves as a good starting point in comparing the costs and benefits you can expect from a given metal tier.
For example, the Ambetter Clear Bronze plan has a monthly premium of $354 for a 40-year-old in Arkansas, which is $57 less than the premium for the Ambetter CMS Standard Silver plan. But the Bronze plan’s lower monthly rate comes at the expense of higher out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles.
|Bronze||Ambetter Clear Bronze||$354||$8,600||$8,600|
|Silver||Ambetter CMS Standard Silver||$411||$5,800||$8,900|
|gold||Ambetter CMS Standard Gold||$491||$2,000||$8,700|
Metal tier and age are both important factors that affect your monthly health insurance premium. Higher metal tier policies have higher monthly rates, but they also have lower out-of-pocket costs, meaning you pay less when you need to use your health insurance. With all metal tiers, as your age increases, your monthly premium increases. For example, a 60-year-old in Arkansas pays $640 more per month than a 40-year-old for a Gold plan but $451 more per month for a Bronze plan.
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Finding the best health insurance coverage in Arkansas
The best cheap health insurance plan in Arkansas varies depending on the policies available in your county, as well as your chosen level of coverage.
Higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold plans, typically have more expensive monthly premiums, but they also come with lower out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance.
Alternatively, if you’re young, healthy and have the financial means to pay higher medical costs in the event of an unexpected emergency, a lower metal tier health plan may be the better choice to cut costs.
Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs
The cheapest Gold plan in Arkansas is the Ambetter CMS Standard Gold. Compare all tiers in Arkansas above.
Gold plans are considered higher metal tier health plans, which typically cover the greatest share of out-of-pocket expenses. However, these benefits come with more expensive premiums.
Despite the higher monthly rates, these health insurance plans can be the most cost-effective for those with high expected medical costs or chronic medical conditions. Generally, you can expect a Gold plan to cover roughly 80% of your health care expenses, while you pay the other 20%.
Silver plan: Best for those with low incomes or average medical costs
The cheapest Silver plan in Arkansas is the Ambetter CMS Standard Silver. Compare all tiers in Arkansas above.
Silver plans are best for those looking for a balance between the higher monthly premiums in a Gold plan and the lower coverage found in the Bronze metal tier.
For example, the average monthly cost of the Ambetter CMS Standard Silver health plan for a 40-year-old is $411, and it has a deductible of $5,800. The Ambetter CMS Standard Gold is a Gold plan with a significantly lower deductible of $2,000, but it costs an average of $80 more per month.
Furthermore, lower-income households can qualify for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies with a Silver health plan, which would lower 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. Therefore, these health policies often offer the best value for lower-income families.
Bronze plan: Best for young, healthy people
The cheapest Bronze plan in Arkansas is the Ambetter Clear Bronze. Compare all tiers in Arkansas above.
Bronze plans offer cheaper monthly premiums than higher metal tier plans at the expense of reduced coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs. This means paying more out of pocket before your health insurance kicks in. On average, you can expect a Bronze plan to cover about 60% of your health care costs, while you pay for the other 40%. Expanded Bronze plans increase coverage to about 65%, while you pay roughly 35%.
Health insurance rate changes in Arkansas
Health insurance premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are set annually by insurance providers and then approved by state and federal exchange regulators.
In Arkansas, Bronze health insurance plans had the biggest rise in premiums — increasing by 26% from 2022 to 2023. Silver plan premiums increased by 9%, while Gold’s rates increased by 4%.
Best cheap health insurance companies in Arkansas
There are currently three health insurance companies on the Arkansas state marketplace.
Arkansas health insurance companies
Ambetter from Arkansas Health & Wellness
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
We recommend starting your search for the best health insurance policy for you with Ambetter, as it offers the the most affordable Silver plan in every county.
Cost of health insurance by county
The cheapest Silver health insurance plan in the state is the Ambetter CMS Standard Silver, which is available in 29% of counties. The cheapest Silver health insurance plan in Arkansas’ remaining 71% of counties is the Ambetter Focused Silver.
|Baxters||CMS Standard Silver||$411||$822||$903|
|Benton||CMS Standard Silver||$411||$822||$903|
|Boone||CMS Standard Silver||$411||$822||$903|
|Carroll||CMS Standard Silver||$411||$822||$903|
|Cleburne||CMS Standard Silver||$411||$822||$903|
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Average cost of health insurance by family size in Arkansas
In addition to the coverage tier, the number of people in your family and their ages affect your monthly health insurance premium. For children under age 15, the monthly health insurance premium remains flat. However, once a child turns 15 years old, the monthly health plan premium increases annually as they get older.
The average cost of a Silver health insurance policy for a family of three, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child, is $1,184 in Arkansas. For each additional child, the average cost of a policy increases by about $273, so a family of five, assuming two adults and three children, would cost an average of $1,730 per month to insure. On the other hand, an adult couple with no children would pay $911 on average for health insurance.
|Individual and child||$728|
|Couple, age 40||$911|
|Family of three (adult couple and a child)||$1,184|
|Family of four (adult couple and two children)||$1,457|
|Family of five (adult couple and three children)||$1,730|
Arkansas health insurance plans, premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for this report were found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) government website. Using the many health insurance variables, Value Penguin was able to compile averages and minimums for a variety of metrics such as age, metal tier, family size and county. Plans and providers for which county-level data was included in the CMS Crosswalk file were used in our analysis; those excluded from this data set may not appear.
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