How to Find Cheap Health Insurance Options for Young Adults in Wisconsin

  • September 12, 2016
  • |Quartz
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Check out this helpful guide to finding an affordable health care plan in Madison, WI for survivors of a serious illness.
Are you a survivor of a serious illness and need a new health care plan in WI? Click here for a helpful guide to finding affordable coverage for survivors.
Today, there are many options for young adults looking for health insurance. All ACA-compliant plans provide preventive care as defined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That means even if you have one of the cheaper ACA-compliant plans, you can get certain preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost.

The key for getting the lowest costs may depend on the age of the young adult.


Health insurance for young adults under age 26
For many young people, staying on a parent’s employer health insurance plan until age 26 is probably the cheapest option. Even if you help pay the premium, it’s likely to be cheaper than purchasing an individual plan.

If your parents pay for your insurance, you need to make sure you have the most up-to-date ID Card. For example, if your parents change plans, they may also change provider networks. That could mean that the doctor or clinic you use is no longer covered. Perhaps you’ll have a different copay when you go to the doctor.

It’s also important to know that when young adults turn 26, they are required by the ACA to buy health insurance within 60 days after their birthday. Otherwise they may have to wait until open enrollment and may even pay a fee for being uninsured.



Catastrophic plans are available until age 30 (and with other special circumstances). These plans feature low premiums. They also may have high deductibles. In general, insurance doesn’t pay until your deductible has been met.

However, many young adults looking for cheap health insurance may find that they qualify for subsidies. Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC) and / or Cost Sharing Reductions may be available. These subsidies are related to household size and income. In 2016, an individual who earns up to $47,520 may be eligible for APTC.1 It may be possible to purchase a bronze level plan and have a large portion of the premium paid by APTCs, depending on your income. If so, this may be a cheap health insurance option for you. In 2015, the average monthly premium with APTCs was $113.2

If your yearly income is lower than $11,770, you may qualify for BadgerCare Plus. This is Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid.

Use our convenient Get A Quote tool to see if you qualify for cost sharing assistance. You’ll just need to supply your age, income, number of people on the policy, whether you smoke and the where you live in Wisconsin. You will get an estimate on how much assistance you may qualify for to help pay your premiums.

If your income is very low and you think you might be eligible for BadgerCare Plus, you may apply through You will need detailed income and family information to complete the application.



A choice that is becoming more and more popular is a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA). This option allows you to save money pre-tax in a special savings account. You then use this money to pay for approved health care costs. Your health insurance premium is NOT an approved health care cost. However, costs like doctor visit copays, glasses, certain dental care costs and other health-related bills may be paid with the HSA. You are allowed to save up to $3,350 each year in this account and these funds can be carried over year to year.

The minimum 2016 deductible in a HDHP is $1,300 for a single and $2,600 for a family.3 If you are very healthy and don’t qualify for subsidies, this plan might make sense. The premiums tend to be lower, and if you don’t use health care, the funds in your HSA can grow.

Today, there are many options for young adults in Wisconsin looking for health insurance. All ACA compliant plans cover essential health benefits, some at no copay. It’s worth checking out.


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