Details are now available on the costs associated with health plans being offered through Healthcare.gov, and some people are finding their insurance will cost more than they had hoped. Until last week, the federal government blocked users from viewing deductible amounts associated with available health plans, limiting consumers to view only premium and copayment amounts. Insurers assumed consumers would pick plans mainly on price, as reflected in the monthly premium, so it was to their advantage, as well as to the government’s, that consumers were unable to view a plan’s annual deductible, or the amount consumers need to pay before coverage kicks in. The federal government finally relented and allowed consumers to basically ‘window shop’ for coverage. For policies offered in the federal exchange, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple. The average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange is $5,081 a year, according to a new report on insurance offerings in 34 of the 36 states that are relying on the federally run marketplace. While the costs of these plans are surprising many, they are more generous than what is currently available in the individual market. However, the plans are significantly less generous than what most employers are providing, creating a sticker shock sensation to consumers that are no longer receiving employer-sponsored health insurance.
As a quick recap, plans on the marketplace are separated into four categories – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The ONLY difference between the plans is the cost sharing of coverage. Gold and platinum plans have the highest monthly premiums but the lowest yearly deductibles, while the opposite is true for the bronze and silver plans.
Most consumers entering the marketplace are expected to buy the bronze and silver plans.