One is Silver and the Other is Gold

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 5.59.47 PMBronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum no longer just refer to precious metals. They also refer to your health plan. As you start shopping, you’ll notice that plan names will be named Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. But unlike the metal, this ranking doesn’t reflect superiority, the types of benefits you receive or the quality of the plan.

So what do these tiers mean and how should it influence your choice in health plans?

These metal tiers were created to identify how much cost-sharing, or the portion you have to pay for your health care services, is provided by the plan. On average this means that you will pay for 40 percent of all health care costs on a Bronze plan, 30 percent on a Silver plan, 20 percent with a Gold plan and 10 percent with a Platinum plan.

Before you run off and purchase a Platinum plan, know that the more a health plan helps you pay for its services and benefits, the more you have to pay per month. This means that although the Platinum plan will pay the most for medical services and drug costs, it comes with the highest premium cost.

To find the right plan for you, consider how much you use health care services, your health status and what you can budget for. Take a look below to see if you fit the profile for each metal tier.

A Bronze plan member is…

  • Someone that rarely uses health care services
  • In good or great health
  • Price sensitive

A Silver plan member is…

  • Someone that makes makes regular visits to the doctor or does not have many prescriptions
  • In fair health
  • Someone that would prefer to keep your monthly costs low

A Gold plan member is…

  • Someone who goes to the doctor often or has many prescription drug costs
  • In moderate or poor health, or need help managing a chronic condition
  • Someone that would pay more up front to save in the long run

A Platinum plan member is…

  • Someone who needs a lot of health care treatment and services
  • In poor health, or needing expensive treatment
  • Able to spend the more to get the best coverage on your health benefits

Remember, open enrollment ends on January 31st. Don’t wait until the last minute to get covered!

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