What Obamacare Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Really Mean

Obamacare's health-insurance exchanges have finally opened, and millions of people across the nation are finally getting to enroll for health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But many are confused by all the plan options they have available to them.

In the following video, host Alison Southwick interviews Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, to learn more about Obamacare's plan options. Dan explains that the various tiers refer to different levels of coverage, with platinum policies generally charging the highest monthly premiums but also providing the lowest copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. By contrast, as you run through gold, silver, and bronze, you're progressively more responsible for covering health-care costs, but your monthly insurance premiums are lower.

Dan runs through the actuarial calculations behind the levels and points out that some subsidies under Obamacare require particular policy choices. In the end, though, the right plan for you depends on your own health, financial situation, and other personal considerations.

Are you ready for Obamacare?
With exchanges already available, health care as we know it is changing. Do you know how the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will affect you and your portfolio? If not, we're here to help: The Motley Fool has compiled a special new report filled with Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare. This report is a free offer from us to help you get educated on this important subject. Please click here to access your free copy.


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  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 9:45 PM, ron2cu wrote:

    Takes some advice....do not enroll in this piece of garbage legislation. Pay the 95 dollars this year and tell the king to stick it.

    If they don't buy it, i'm not buying it. Plain and simple and next year my religion will not allow it.

    "Obamacare's health-insurance exchanges have finally opened, and millions of people across the nation are finally getting to enroll for health insurance"...Really? Funny how they will not give numbers of how many have actually signed up for . My guess is not that many. It is FAR from affordable. When you really read what is covered and what is not and what the deductibles are.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 10:03 PM, wando222 wrote:

    Motley Fool would be wise to disengage from politics and focus on investing. When Motley Fool gets into politics half or more than half the people dislike it and don't trust M.L while less than half may like what M.L has to say but still distrust M.L. Some businesses are hurt by preaching a political agenda to customers and I believe M.L. is one of these. What happens with money people, is they think that they know more than everybody else because they are clever making money. Bill Ackman tried to introduce his social agenda into the operations of JC Penney and this contributed to his failure and loss of money at JC Penney.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 10:49 PM, Baxter1939 wrote:

    There has never been any mystery about the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels were and what a person would have to pay if they were under 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. The only mystery is why people were not reading this part of the law and raising hell back when it was developing in 2009 and head to approval in Jan 2010 and signing in Mar 2010.

    .

    People just choose to wait until they have little control over their life’s and what going to happen to them. They general deserve what happens to them. The below was easly found in the Obamacare bill and law.

    .

    Obamacare establish four levels of possible insurance plans;

    (A) Bronze Level – A plan in the bronze level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 60 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

    .

    (B) Silver Level – A plan in the silver level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 70 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

    .

    (C) Gold Level – A plan in the gold level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 80 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

    .

    (D) Platinum Level – A plan in the Platinum level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 90 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

    .

    Basically the Bronze plan requires a co pay of 40%, if the doctor approved charge is a $100 your co pay would be $40, if the charge was $60 the co-pay would be $24. The Silver requires a co-pay of 30%. If the doctor approved charge is a $100 your co pay would be $30, if the charge was $60 the co-pay would be $18. The Gold is less co-pay and the Platinum is the least co-pay. However the premiums get higher as you pick lower co-pay plans.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:10 PM, bluemoon51 wrote:

    Obamacare is an abomination. Based on the "estimator" on the government website, I am estimated to pay $13,600 in annual premiums, pay 20% out of pocket with a maximum of $12,000. Now I pay $5,760 with a $2,000 deductible. I expect I will be notified that I am losing my current coverage and will be directed to the "exchange" which means my money will be exchanged to someone else's money.

    ML should stay out of politics and global warming. Wait a minute, global warming is politics.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:14 PM, gjonesgrad wrote:

    Sounds like some people have been drinking the GOP koolaid!

    All I know is that my aunt that was on disability with a pre-exisiting medical condition found affordable healthcare and no one turned her away -- period.

    She has her dignity back. They don't tell those stories eh?

    This is good information for those people who really need to know - no matter what.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:52 PM, drakeiverson wrote:

    WHOA! Not EVERY "metal" plan is available in ALL geographical areas. I live in a county in Oregon that does NOT have the "platinum" plan. I would LOVE to have that plan, but it is NOT offered here. What the hell is up with THAT???

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 12:22 AM, professo12 wrote:

    Obamacare is just a big ponzi scheme w inflated prices 200-300% increase w bad deductibles. The jacked in the pre-existing conditions into the price even when u don't have pre existing conditions. That's why it's so expansive.

    If u get subsidies it would be affordable but it will bankrupt the states and crash on itself. Then Harry Reid can implement his single payer socialize healthcare that he said is the whole purpose.

    Don't buy into this ponzi scheme, the people can defund the program. Cruz doesn't have to do it.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 1:12 AM, somersethatch wrote:

    Obamacare is an ill-conceived attempt to create the illusion of providing public health care while continuing to cater to the dictates of the private health care industry, which will never willingly accept any reduction in profits. This is the rub.

    You owe it to yourself to watch an episode of PBS' Frontline series entitled, "Sick around The World". It is a study of public health care systems in several countries including England, Japan, Germany, and Switzerland. The 7 countries they studied all had several things in common; all had a citizenry which expressed satisfaction with the level of care they received, the availability of care, and the cost of medical care. One question which was asked in each country was, "Does anyone ever go bankrupt in this country because of medical bills?". The answer was invariably,"No, it never happens". This seems to be one distinction reserved exclusively - among all modernized countries - to the U.S.A. Even those of us who believe we have purchased good coverage sometimes learn the hard way of it's limitations when a series of expensive procedures and/or lengthy hospitalization is required.

    We have been brainwashed by the media into the belief that all socialized medicine is second rate and that the free market system we have in the U.S. provides the best care in the world. Maybe for a privileged few, but the truth is that many other countries have developed systems that provide quality of care equal to our own, and made it available to everyone.

    The reason so many Americans are forced to to without care, or receive sub-standard care, is the political influence wielded by the medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. Any legislation that would limit their profits is D.O.A. (No pun intended)

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 1:54 AM, Kennernow wrote:

    Hey gjonesgrad, if your imaginary Aunt is really on “disability”, she would be getting coverage from SS Disability…duh…

    Anyone with a “pre-existing” condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a pre-existing condition is stealing money from my children by making me pay the premium for their pre-existing condition.

    Only a Socialist scum would think it’s ok to steal money from my kids to supplement their health insurance premium

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 5:43 AM, Howie208 wrote:

    @Somersethatch -- We don't have free market medicine. Damn I am tired of people saying that.

    That is why our system sucks. It has been subsidized and regulated and twisted to suit the needs of everyone involved EXCEPT the patients.

    Quick - name me the organization who represents citizen's gun rights. Of course you would immediately say "NRA"

    Quick - name me the organization who represents retired people. You would immediately say "AARP"

    Ditto the question for 4th amendment and 1st amendment issues = ACLU.

    But what if I asked you who represented American citizen's interests in the medical area? Hmmmm.

    It is so convoluted and has been set up with such unbelievably perverse set of incentives that it's on the verge of breaking down but that does not mean the solution is to go further in the direction that caused it.

    It is not a free market system. In what other area of life are you made to wait 45 minutes to see the 'God' you are hiring and then given an extremely short 'appointment' where he answers almost none of your questions and treats you like a piece of sh--.

    I mean car dealers are one of the most hated areas of the economy and yet they are 100 times more responsive and respectful to the consumer than doctors.

    I'll agree with you on the influence of the doctors, pharm companies and insurance companies but with socialized medicine you will only get rid of one of those rats and the other two will do everything they can to gain control of the system so they can form it to their needs. Don't you think? Isn't that what normally happens? Isn't that what has already happened?

    LOL - this is the thing that always cracks me up - people say they don't like the system and gripe about doctor, pharm, and insurance lobbies having messed it up and served themselves and then advocate that the government that allowed itself to be co-opted by lobbyists should gain 100% control and patients should be given less control!!!!!

    That makes no sense and I think you are smart enough to realize that if you just think about it instead of automatically accepting the answer that is formulated for you by the socialists.

    Just because some of these systems work ok (in SOME ways) in other countries does not mean that it would work here or that there is not a better way

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 6:32 AM, 1upsidedown wrote:

    Young people should not purchase this scam of a plan Obama no care. Its not insurance it's extortion. Invest your money instead.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 6:56 AM, theloyaldog wrote:

    I've seen kids get their first job and paycheck and can't imagine them voting for someone that wants to take a large portion of it to supplement Illegals, ones that don't want to work and the few that claim they can't get coverage and on top of that have their existing coverage raised or forced to purchase from the Tyrant or threatened by the IRS. This also applies to the elderly and families barely getting by, who in their right mind would think people are jumping over HOOPS to be Robbed and Scammed.

    This package is so bad you can't even feel save to have your money in banks or retirement accounts because of the fine print in it, whereas the Tyrant's IRS can seize you funds as a penalty for not joining or paying the Premiums. This should be a total outrage of the people, with the exception of those that don't have to join the Scam or the FEW that caused the problem in the first place. If it isn't stopped our Dollar will soon be worthless, so invest and bury your Gold and Silver to protect it from the Tyrant.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 7:10 AM, devoish wrote:

    "Anyone with a “pre-existing” condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a pre-existing condition is stealing money from my children by making me pay the premium for their pre-existing condition.

    Only a Socialist scum would think it’s ok to steal money from my kids to supplement their health insurance premium" kennernow

    Choices choices choices! This one has so many choices for answers.

    Anyone with a pre-existing condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a pre-existing condition is blazing a path toward providing care to my child in the event that he/she has a traumatic brain injury.

    Only a Socialist scum would think it is ok to provide services to children.

    or this.

    Anyone with a “higher income" condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a higher income" condition is stealing money from my children by making me pay the premium for their higher income condition.

    Only a Socialist scum would think it’s ok to steal money from my kids to supplement their higher income condition

    Kennernow - You stated your values and I voted against you. At the time I was hoping for Single Payer to make my Doctors life and energy more focused on getting patients well than jumping through the hoops private insurers put up to avoid honoring their promises of coverage and payment to their customers.

    It is far more efficient to provide healthcare and retirement directly through medicare and SSI than indirectly through the overpaid and underperforming investment industry middleman we call private insurance.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 7:14 AM, devoish wrote:

    Dan,

    Your video was almost entirely devoid of useful information concerning the Affordable Care Act.

    One question I would like answered is whether or not the different metal levels all cover the same services for different cost, or if the services covered are different to.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 8:09 AM, sgcole wrote:

    ert

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 8:31 AM, sgcole wrote:

    Being a licensed health insurance agent in New England states, I can say Obamacare will certainly help the huge demographic of 50 to 64 year olds who make under $60,000 per year. This age group is/was tragically under insured, and added to the heavy lifting that Medicare and Medicaid had to do when they reached 65. Yes, premiums from 29 to 39 year olds will be subsidizing to some extent this older group. So what else is new?! Its not a perfect system, it may not work. But what's most distressing is the bitterness and name calling. Look, the old "system" if it can even be called that, sucked. We weren't going to get single payer because that would be "communism", so we have this. I have yet to hear any alternatives, at all, proposed by the "free market", don't-tread-on-me folks.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 9:54 AM, xipher wrote:

    Anyone with a “higher income" condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a higher income" condition is stealing money from my children by making me pay the premium for their higher income condition.

    Higher income is not a "condition" it is a result from hard work.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 2:49 PM, Kennernow wrote:

    Steven’s quotes – “Anyone with a “higher income" condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a higher income" condition is stealing money from my children by making me pay the premium for their higher income condition.”

    “Only a Socialist scum would think it’s ok to steal money from my kids to supplement their higher income condition.”

    Truly delusional thinking Steven/ devoish. This type of thinking is what almost destroyed England in the late 70’s until M. Thatcher implemented changes and is tearing the EU down. The very people who are making more money are helping to fund your retirement accounts which are invested in the companies held in your IRA, 401K, union/govt pensions, etc.

    Central planning has never worked and will never work because there are too many unintended consequences that arise from it. Stalin had to stop his 5 Year Plan after 4 yrs due to the unmitigated disaster it had become and China’s 1 child policy was tyrannically catastrophic.

    You’re assuming that your doctor will go along with your “utopian” idea. Just search “doctors dropping out of medicare” http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-doctors-steer-clear-medic... and include those doctors in the exodus of Obamacare because there was no Tort Reform in the ACA.

    The US is on an unsustainable trajectory of spending with $30-$50 Trillion dollars in unfunded future liabilities that will fall on the next generation to provide for the previous generation with 10,000 people retiring a day for the next 20yrs.

    Wake up Socialist scum, your time is coming to an end when everyone learns of your willingness to pass the growing $17T bill to the next generation…

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 4:41 PM, devoish wrote:

    Anyone with a “higher income" condition that is NOT paying more than someone without a higher income" condition is stealing money from my children by making me pay the premium for their higher income condition.

    Higher income is not a "condition" it is a result from hard work. - xipher

    I would politely suggest that has not been as true as those who say it want it to be.

    In my experience there is a direct correlation between lower pay and harder work.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

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