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Health Insurance Metals Explained

Oct 13, 2023
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Health insurance metals help people understand the amount of cost sharing that goes on between the plan holder and the insurance company in any given plan. (Need a refresher on how these costs work? Check out our health insurance lingo blog post here!) 

Remember that the exact amount of cost sharing can vary from plan to plan. And at each metal level, you’ll pay a different percentage of total yearly costs of your care, while your insurance company will pay the rest. Total costs include premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs like copayments and coinsurance.

As a rule, the less the insurance company pays in cost sharing, the lower the cost of the plan. So, Bronze plans typically have the lowest monthly premium costs and highest costs when you need care. Monthly premium costs generally increase according to metal levels. Silver, Gold, and Platinum cost more each month in premium payments but will have lowers costs when you need care. While your monthly premium price is often the top consideration when purchasing health insurance, it’s important to consider the deductible and cost sharing as well, since these two factors can impact the total amount of out-of-pocket healthcare costs you might incur in a plan year. The total cost of care is what really matters.

When choosing a plan, you’ll want to think about how much you (and your dependents) are likely to use your insurance coverage. Consider things like how often you see a doctor, what medications you take, and whether you foresee scheduling any elective surgery during the year to come. If you think you’ll use your healthcare plan frequently or have prescription medications you take regularly, you might want to consider a higher metal level that offers lower deductibles and makes your costs easier to predict (like a Gold or Platinum plan). If you don’t expect needing many healthcare services, a lower-premium/higher cost share plan might be a better fit.

One thing that’s important to know is that ALL Community Health Options’ plans in ALL metal categories offer $0 cost share preventive care, including yearly wellness checks. Many plans also offer an array of low-to-no-cost benefits that help offset many healthcare expenses (like wellness visits, prescription benefits, and vaccines), even for people with chronic conditions. All non-HSA plans offer Amwell® urgent care telehealth visits with $0 cost sharing. So, whether you choose Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum, you can find a plan that meets your budget and your needs while giving you peace of mind and helping to keep you and your family healthy.

SEE ALSO

Let’s face it. There’s a lot of health-related information on the internet. Not sure whether that lingering cold needs some antibiotics? Google that and you’ll get bundle of responses, but it’s often not easy to know which source to trust.

Community Health Options offers its Members a solution with access to Healthwise®, which like Health Options, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to your health and wellbeing. Through Healthwise, you can search for symptoms and find solutions that fit your needs. And that search won’t yield questionable results. Instead, you’ll get unbiased, evidence-based and research-driven answers to your most pressing health questions.

You can, of course, search for information about physical symptoms, but you can also search for topics that support your mental and emotional wellbeing. For example, start typing “optimism,” and you’ll be taken to a page with resources to help you work through negative thoughts and anxiety.