Bronze plans are one of four "metal" levels of coverage established by the Affordable Care Act. These plans can be very affordable depending on your anticipated medical needs.
When compared to the other three plans, Bronze plans typically have the cheapest monthly insurance premiums. However, Bronze plans also tend to have the highest out-of-pocket costs and deductibles when using health insurance. They pay for 60% of your health care costs. You would be responsible for the remaining 40%, in addition to your monthly premium.
As with all four plans, your monthly premium could be lowered greatly if you qualify for the Premium Tax Credit. The Premium Tax Credit is like a "discount" that is paid for by the government and applied to your monthly insurance rate. The main factor in determining your eligibility is your annual household income. Depending on the state you live in, your income must be at or below 4x the Federal Poverty Line to qualify for the Premium Tax Credit.
Remember that the only difference among plans is the amount you pay, not the quality of health care you receive. By law, all four plans must meet the Ten Essential Health Benefits, which includes a free wellness visit and preventative care.
Does it Make Sense to Enroll in a Bronze Plan?
Only you can decide what type of plan is best for your individual or family needs. It is important to consider your current health, lifestyle, and medical risk factors. That said, it is always best to think in terms of the total cost of the plan, which is the monthly premium, plus your anticipated out-of-pocket costs when using the insurance.
A Bronze plan could be the right choice if you:
- Want the lowest monthly premium possible and do not qualify for a Catastrophic plan;
- Anticipate rarely needing non-preventative medical services;
- Foresee rarely taking prescription medication;
- And do not mind paying more out-of-pocket in the event you need non-preventative medical care, including a sickness or major medical emergency.
Keep in mind that no matter which metal level you choose, under Obamacare, all plans have the same maximum out-of-pocket limits. These limits protect you financially, especially if you need a lot of medical care. For 2016, the annual limit is $6,850 for an individual, and $13,700 for a family, including deductibles. Bronze plans pays for 60% percent of covered medical expenses before reaching the limit, and then 100% of all covered expenses after reaching the limit.
Even if you think a Bronze plan is right for you, consider a Silver plan. If you qualify for the Premium Tax Credit, which lowers your monthly rate, you may also qualify for Cost Sharing Reductions. Cost Sharing Reductions are like “discounts” on your out-of-pocket expenses that are paid for by the government. They are only available on Silver plans.
If you think you will need regular medical care, consider a Gold plan, especially if you do not qualify for Cost Sharing Reductions. A Platinum plan could be an even better choice for those who need very frequent or major medical services.
To start comparing Bronze plans, enter your zip code or call (877) 935-9291 to speak with an agent.