Bronze, silver, gold, & platinum plans: What’s the difference?

January 11, 2016

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Lauren
Lead Copywriter

 

 

You may notice that health insurance plans come in five different types: catastrophe, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The metallic tier system was created to give consumers a quick and easy way to understand what you can expect from different plans. 

Catastrophe: A catastrophe plan is available to applicants under the age of 30, and it only covers “catastrophic” medical needs such as a car accident or cancer. In other words, you’ll have a low monthly cost, but you’ll be paying out of pocket for most of your basic medical services. This plan is good if you just want to cover worst-case scenarios.

Bronze: A bronze plan will cover 60% of your medical needs and expenses. Usually your monthly cost will be low, but you will have to cover the other 40% of your medical bills. This plan is good if you don’t plan on going to the doctor often.

Silver: A silver plan will cover 70% of your medical needs and expenses. Your monthly cost will be somewhere between low and high, but you’ll only have to pay 30% of your medical bills. This is your middle-of-the-road plan; it’s good if you go to the doctor a handful of times a year.

Gold: A gold plan will cover 80% of your medical needs and expenses. Because gold covers a good chunk of your bills, your monthly payment will probably be on the higher side. If you plan on going to the doctor a lot, this will be an inexpensive plan in the long run.

Platinum: A platinum plan is the Cadillac of insurance plans. It will cover 90% of your medical needs and expenses. Because of this, your monthly payment will be high; however, this is a smart choice is you have chronic medical needs, like cancer or heart disease.  

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While the tier system does generally indicate a “better” or “worse” plan, it’s still totally dependent on your individual expenses in a year. For example: if you buy a Bronze Plan, but your only health expenses are preventative, then 100% of your health costs for the year will be covered. On the flip side, let’s say you buy a Gold Plan, and end up in urgent care for some stitches after a decidedly poorly-planned experiment with dry ice and freshly-emptied beer bottles. If you don’t have any other health expenses that year and the cost of those stitches don’t meet your deductible, you’d be paying 100% of your health expenses out of pocket that year.

If you’re having difficulty picking the best health insurance plan for you, we can help.