Consumers purchasing health insurance on a public health insurance marketplace or exchange or directly from a health insurance company have up to five levels of coverage to choose from to help compare plans offered by different insurers. The four levels of metallic coverage — bronze, silver, gold and platinum are based on actuarial value of the benefits included with the bronze level providing the lowest coverage amount.
Bronze plans include insurance coverage that covers 60 percent of health care costs for the average consumer, with individuals on average responsible for 40 percent of out-of-pocket health costs. Platinum plans, meanwhile, when available, include coverage that pays for an average of 90 percent of health care costs, with members responsible for paying 10 percent of out-of-pocket costs. Those with very expensive health conditions could end up with significantly higher out-of-pocket costs.
Some individuals, including those younger than 30, can also purchase catastrophic insurance coverage, which provides a lower level of coverage than the bronze level, to protect against high medical bills in the case of unexpected and expensive medical care.
New health insurance plans sold in the small employer and individual markets must fall within the metallic levels of coverage. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota offers metallic level plans both on and off the marketplace.
Visit ItStartsWithBlueND.com to find out more about health care reform.
Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.