Average Health Insurance Rates by Age

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Older people often pay higher health insurance premiums than younger people because they are more likely to require medical care that is more frequent and costly. Insurance premiums for a 21-year-old consumer serves as the base rate for other age groups — younger people have a lower rate multiplier (lower premiums), while older people have higher rate multipliers (higher premiums).

Find out how your age multiplier compares to other age groups.

Key Takeaways

  • Older people usually pay higher health insurance rates because they generally require medical care more frequently and may need more expensive services.
  • The premium for a 21-year-old individual acts as a base factor for all other age groups — rate multipliers are usually lower for younger people and higher for older people.
  • Insurance companies cannot charge older people more than triple what they would charge a 21-year-old based on age alone.
  • Some states, like Utah, Oregon, Mississippi, Minnesota and Alabama, set rate multipliers separate from the federal standard.

Does Age Affect My Health Insurance Rates?

Age is one of several factors insurers use when calculating your health insurance premium. Rates tend to increase with age because people typically develop health conditions as they grow older. Compared to somebody young and healthy, an elderly person with health conditions typically needs more medical attention and is more likely to file health insurance claims.

Average Health Insurance Rates by Age

Most states use age 21 as a base rate and then apply a multiplier based on the individual’s age. Rates are generally cheaper for individuals 20 years and younger and higher for ages 22 and up. The premium multiplier is capped at 3.00 for older people — older individuals will not pay more than three times the rate paid by a 21-year-old based on age alone.

average healthcare insurance costs by age line graph

The table below shows how, in the U.S., the costs can vary across ages for benchmark plans, which is the second-lowest-cost Silver plan available in your area.[1][2] (Note: Sample premiums will not perfectly reflect the age premium multiplier, since geography, tobacco use, income level and other rating factors are used).

Age Premium Multiplier Average Benchmark Monthly Premium in 2024
16 0.859 $320.61
17 0.885 $330.32
18 0.913 $340.77
19 0.941 $351.22
20 0.970 $362.04
21 1.000 $373.24
22 1.000 $373.24
23 1.000 $373.24
24 1.000 $373.24
25 1.004 $374.73
26 1.024 $382.20
27 1.048 $391.16
28 1.087 $405.71
29 1.119 $417.66
30 1.135 $423.63
31 1.159 $432.59
32 1.183 $441.54
33 1.198 $447.14
34 1.214 $453.11
35 1.222 $456.10
36 1.230 $459.09
37 1.238 $462.07
38 1.246 $465.06
39 1.262 $471.03
40 1.278 $477.00
41 1.302 $485.96
42 1.325 $494.54
43 1.357 $506.49
44 1.397 $521.42
45 1.444 $538.96
46 1.500 $559.86
47 1.563 $583.37
48 1.635 $610.25
49 1.706 $636.75
50 1.786 $666.61
51 1.865 $696.09
52 1.952 $728.56
53 2.040 $761.41
54 2.135 $796.87
55 2.230 $832.33
56 2.333 $870.77
57 2.437 $909.59
58 2.548 $951.02
59 2.603 $971.54
60 2.714 $1,012.97
61 2.810 $1,048.80
62 2.873 $1,072.32
63 2.952 $1,101.80
64 and older 3.000 $1,119.72

Do Some States Consider My Age Differently When Setting Rates?

Some states use their own age premium multiplier standard when determining the cost of health insurance. Below, we compare standards in these states to the federal standard.

Utah rate multipliers are lower from ages 15 to 20 but scale more quickly than the federal rating system for 22 and up. For example, the rate multiplier for age 30 is 1.39 in Utah versus 1.135 for the federal system. The 3.00 rate cap is also applied earlier at age 59 instead of 64.[2]

Oregon, Mississippi, Minnesota and Alabama do not follow the federal rating factors for ages zero to 20. Rate multipliers are lower in Oregon, Mississippi and Alabama. For Minnesota, the rate is higher for ages zero to 17 but cheaper for ages 18 to 20. These four states follow the federal standard for ages 21 and up.[2]

Massachusetts has lower rate multipliers from ages 0 to 20 but becomes higher from ages 21 to 48. It then scales lower than the federal standard starting at 49 and caps at 2.365 at age 60.[2]

Washington, D.C. has rate multipliers lower across all ages. The rate cap is also lower (2.18) and occurs earlier than federal standard (age 61).[2]

Age Is Only One of Several Rating Factors

For health plans compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies can consider four other factors alongside when calculating your premiums. These factors are:[3]

  • Location: Pricing for medical products and services can vary by state and even city, leading to different health insurance costs by geography.
  • Tobacco use: Smokers can pay up to 50% more than those who do not smoke.
  • Number of insureds: Adding dependents, like children, can increase the cost of health insurance.
  • Plan category: Healthcare plans have five categories (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Catastrophic). These plans indicate how high your monthly premium is versus your out-of-pocket costs (e.g., deductible, copay) — not the quality of medical service. Bronze plans typically have the lowest monthly premiums but also the highest deductibles.

What Health Insurance Options Do I Have if I’m Under 26?

Consumers under age 26 can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan or obtain coverage through their school, employer or the marketplace.

Stay on Your Parents’ Health Insurance Plan

The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires insurers to offer dependent child coverage to parents until the child turns 26.[4] This offer must remain in effect even if the child gets married or has healthcare coverage options from their employer.

Enroll in a Student Health Insurance Plan

Students can speak with their college or university counselor to learn about available health insurance plans and pricing. Costs can be relatively affordable since the plans serve college students who may not yet be financially independent.

Enroll in Your Employer’s Health Insurance Plan

If your employer offers group health coverage, you may want to sign up after joining the company or during open enrollment. Employers subsidize some or all of the cost of healthcare, which means more savings in your pocket.

Buy a Plan From the Health Insurance Marketplace

People under age 26 can enroll in a private health insurance plan by shopping on the ACA health insurance marketplace. The marketplace is run by the federal government, although there may be a state-equivalent depending on where you live. Regardless, all ACA marketplace plans must cover the below 10 essential health benefits:[5]

  • Outpatient care
  • Emergency services
  • Overnight stays in a hospital
  • Services related to pregnancy and newborn care
  • Certain treatments related to a mental health or substance use disorder
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative devices and services
  • Laboratory services
  • Chronic disease management and preventive and wellness services
  • Dental and vision insurance for children plus other pediatric services

Keep in mind that adult dental and vision coverage are not essential health benefits and you may need to purchase these coverages as a policy add-on or a separate plan.

What Health Insurance Options Do I Have if I Am 65 Or Older?

Several health insurance options are available to older U.S. citizens, including Medicare, Medicaid, employer insurance and more.

Enroll in Medicare

Medicare is government-funded health coverage available to U.S. citizens ages 65 and older or with a qualifying disability. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is free if you’ve paid Medicare taxes for long enough but there will be costs with other Medicare parts (e.g., doctor services, prescription drugs).

You can obtain Medicare coverage via two methods:

  • Original Medicare: Gain Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (doctor/medical insurance). Prescription drug coverage and Medicare Supplement plans (covers out-of-pocket costs) are available as an add-on cost, as well.
  • Medicare Advantage (MA): Also called Medicare part C, MA plans bundle different types of Medicare coverage and are sold by private insurance companies. MA Plans may have benefits excluded by Original Medicare, such as vision and dental coverage.

Enroll in Medicaid (If You’re Low-Income)

Medicaid is a state and federal insurance program that provides health coverage to low-income families. Other qualified groups, such as pregnant women and children in foster care may be eligible to enroll, as well.

To qualify for Medicaid, you will need to meet certain income thresholds that will vary by state. Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program), for example, sets maximum income levels based on household size.[6]

Family Size Maximum Household Income To Qualify for Medicaid
1 $20,121
2 $27,214
3 $34,307
4 $41,400
5 $48,494
6 $55,587
7 $62,680
8 $69,773
9 $76,866
10 $83,960
11 $91,053
12 $98,146
​Each Additional Person Add $7,094

Qualified individuals may be enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. These people are called “dual eligibles.” Dual eligibles may still want to pay for additional coverages, like Medicare Part D to cover the cost of prescription drugs.

Stay on Your Employer Health Insurance Plan

If you’re insured through your employer’s group health plan, you do not have to leave it to enroll in Medicare. You can have both Medicare and employer insurance or wait until you retire before enrolling in Medicare.

Keep in mind that Medicare Part B may charge a late penalty if you sign up later depending on the size of your employer. Before delaying Medicare enrollment, you should talk to your HR department or whoever administers the plan to confirm this information.

Buy a Plan From the Health Insurance Marketplace

Outside of government-funded health or employer healthcare plans, you can buy a plan on the health insurance marketplace during open enrollment, which runs from November 1 to January 15 in most states. It’s also possible to enroll at another time if you qualify for a special enrollment period, such as after getting married, having a child or moving to a new zip code.[7]

Find Affordable Health Insurance Rates


Do employers determine your health plan rates by age?

Yes, an employee’s age is one of several factors used when calculating group health insurance rates. However, older people can be charged only up to three times higher than the rate for 21-year-olds based on age.[2]

What is the average cost of health insurance in the U.S.?

The average health insurance premium for the second-cheapest silver plan across the entire U.S. is $477 in 2024.[1] Actual rates will vary based on age, location, tobacco use and more.

Does the state I live in consider my age for health insurance?

Yes, most states consider an individual’s age when calculating health insurance rates. The average health insurance cost is generally higher for older people than for younger people.

Why do health insurance rates increase with age?

 Older people with health conditions are more likely to file a health insurance claim than a young and healthy person — rates increase to accommodate the increased reliance on health coverage.


SmartFinancial used the most recent information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to compile age rating multipliers. To obtain the average premium for all second-lowest Silver plans in the United States, we started with $477 based on Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) analysis of plans quoted for a 40-year-old male. We then removed the age multiplier for a 40-year-old to arrive at $373.24 ($477/1.278), which was then multiplied by the age multiplier for each age band to produce the average quotes shown above. However, other factors will affect the cost of health insurance so the quotes provided in this report are not representative of actual rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.


  1. Kaiser Family Foundation. "Marketplace Average Benchmark Premiums." Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.
  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "Market Rating Reforms." Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.
  3. HealthCare.gov. "How Insurance Companies Set Health Premiums." Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.
  4. HealthCare.gov. “People Under 30.” Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.
  5. HealthCare.gov. "10 Covered Marketplace Health Benefits."  Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.
  6. California Department of Health Care Services. “Do You Qualify for Medi-Cal Benefits?” Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.
  7. HealthCare.gov. “When Can You Get Health Insurance?” Accessed Nov. 27, 2023.

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