What’s the Difference Between Bronze, Silver and Gold Plans?

To make shopping for health insurance easier, plans you purchase for you and your family are divided into metal tiers: bronze, silver and gold. We all know gold costs more than silver, and silver costs more than bronze. But when it comes to health plans, metal tiers tell you more than just price.

Coverage and costs

The Affordable Care Act requires each metal tier to cover a certain percentage of your health care costs.

  • Bronze plans cover about 60%
  • Silver plans cover about 70%, unless you're eligible for cost sharing reduction. We explain what this is below.
  • Gold plans cover about 80%

What does that mean for you? If you choose a bronze plan, overall you'll pay about 40% of your health care costs, and your insurance company will pay about 60%. If you choose a gold plan, overall you'll pay about 20%, and your insurance company will pay about 80%.

Silver plans are a little different. You may be eligible for a cost sharing reduction subsidy. Depending on your income, this subsidy means you could qualify for a silver plan that covers about 73, 87 or 94% of your health care costs.

Payments and out-of-pocket costs

Metal tiers will also give you a general idea about monthly payments and out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles and copays.

  • Bronze plans: lower monthly payments, but higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Silver plans: monthly payments lower than a gold plan, but more than bronze. Your out-of-pocket costs will be less than a bronze plan, but more than a gold plan, unless you're eligible for cost sharing reduction.
  • Gold plans: higher monthly payments, but lower out-of-pocket costs.

The advance premium tax credit subsidy can lower your monthly payment. If you're eligible, you can apply it to any bronze, silver, gold or platinum plan.

Metal tiers and HSAs

Another way metal tiers differ from each other is whether they pair with an HSA, or health savings account. An HSA is a bank account you use to pay medical expenses. You can save on taxes with an HSA because the money you put in and take out is tax-free or tax-deductible.

Learn more about HSAs, including which plans are eligible, in our help center.

Ready to choose a plan?

We make it simple. Take a look at our available plans, and find out if you're eligible to enroll. You can also see if you qualify for lower costs.

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