To allow quick and easy comparison of health insurance plans, the Affordable Care Act divided the plans into four tiers, based on how the costs of the plans are divided between the insurer and the insured. The plans are divided into four metal tiers named, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. A Bronze plan is the lowest level plan that comes with the least monthly premium compared to other tiers of plans. Though the Bronze plans have the least expensive premium, people should keep in mind that these plans have the highest copays and coinsurance costs in the ACA marketplace. People enrolled in Bronze plans have to pay more out-of-pocket, if they get sick than they would have paid with other plans. Bronze plans also have a high deductible amount.
What is Covered under Bronze Health Plans?
A Bronze health plan besides including ten essential coverages that may come with coinsurance or copays under the ACA also includes a range of preventive care without additional costs like copays or coinsurance. Some of the free preventive cares included under the Bronze plan are:
- Diagnostic screenings like mammograms and blood pressure screenings
- Fall prevention care for seniors over 65
- Diet counselling for people at risk for chronic disease
- Preventive medicines like aspirin or statins.
Cost Sharing Percentage of a Bronze Plan
In every tier of metal health plan, both insured and insurer pay a certain percentage of the healthcare cost. In the Bronze plan, the insurance company pays for 60% of the healthcare cost, whereas policyholders pay for 40% of the medical costs.
Subsidies Options with a Bronze Health Plan
People having a Bronze plan are eligible for premium subsidies that are paid as a tax credit. Individuals with bronze plans may apply for premium tax credits because premium tax credits are offered to anyone whose income is at, or up to four-time the Federal Poverty Level. However, people having a bronze plan may not be eligible for other cost-saving subsidies like the cost-sharing subsidy. The lowest level of plan eligible for the cost-sharing subsidy is the Silver health plan.
Are Bronze Plans Worth to Buy?
Healthy individuals who rarely visit to doctor will find Bronze plans a good option for them. This tier of plan can also be considered by people who mostly visit their doctor for preventive care services. Individuals who are managing a chronic condition and regularly visit the doctor should not get enrolled in a Bronze plan and should consider another tier of a health plan. Though Bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums, people end up paying more before they hit their out-of-pocket maximum.
Who Should Buy a Bronze Health Plan?
A Bronze health plan is a good option for young individuals, who do not use their health plan very much. The low monthly premium of the Bronze plan makes it ideal for healthy and younger individuals. Since the Bronze plan provides coverage for preventive care, people can catch potential health problems early. The low premium of the Bronze plans allows people to save money every month.
The bronze plan typically has very high out-of-pocket costs that people are required to pay before the insurance company starts paying it. So, older individuals or people who are at great risk for chronic illness will end up paying more with a Bronze plan. Therefore, individuals having Bronze plans if face serious medical conditions may have to face far higher costs. Thus, people who consistently use their health plan may look for a plan with a higher monthly premium and lower out-of-pocket costs.
How to Sign for a Bronze Plan?
Individuals looking to sign up for a Bronze plan need to wait for the open enrollment period that runs from November 1 to December 15. The bronze plan chosen by them during this period will take effect starting in the next calendar year on January 1. However, people with qualifying life events qualify for a special enrollment period and they can enroll in a Bronze plan during this period too.