Affordable care insurance is available, if you know where to look. The Health Insurance Marketplace is an online tool you can use to find low-cost health insurance plans and compare quotes. The site also lets you check to see if you qualify for an insurance subsidy, which lowers the cost of your insurance premiums.
The health insurance plans listed on the Marketplace are categorized based on affordability. Each category represents expected costs, including premiums and costs of receiving care. The four categories are represented by different metals: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Additionally, you can choose to add an option known as a “catastrophic” plan, which provides more coverage in case of an emergency.
You can find health, dental and vision insurance offered through the Marketplace. Each one is assigned a metal that corresponds to its affordability.
The four levels of affordability are defined below:
Bronze – With these health insurance plans, you pay 40 percent of the cost of care and the insurance pays the remaining 60 percent. These plans carry the lowest monthly premium but the highest costs for services. Bronze plans are ideal if you do not seek regular medical attention.
Silver – You pay 30 percent and the insurance pays 70 percent. Silver plans are considered middle ground plans because the costs associated with care are in between high and low.
Gold – You pay 20 percent and the insurance pays 80 percent. These plans have high monthly premiums, but you are covered for more services. These plans are ideal if you require substantial medical care, since your out-of-pocket costs will be very low.
Platinum – These plans have the highest premiums, but the lowest out-of-pocket expenses. You pay 10 percent and the insurance pays 90 percent of the costs.
Whether you get health insurance subsidies depends on a few factors, including:
- Where you live.
- Your age.
- Your income.
- Whether you smoke.
- Members in your household.
If you use tobacco, you may qualify for a higher subsidy, but your insurance premium will also be higher.
Some health insurance plans may not be available depending on your state or city. Also, medical costs vary by location.