What Do the Different Metals on Healthcare Plans Mean?

Obamacare open enrollment is the period that comes around once a year that allows individuals and families to sign up for a healthcare plan that will take effect in the upcoming year. This period allows people to either stick with the same plan they had last year or choose a new one to better fit their situation. When looking at new plans, many people are confused by the metal labels on healthcare plans, so read on to learn more about what Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum mean in terms of health insurance. 

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Bronze healthcare plans are the lowest metal plans that offer the least amount of coverage, but their monthly premium costs tend to be the most affordable. Bronze plans, on average, require the plan holder to pay about 40% of the medical costs out-of-pocket per year. The insurance company will cover the other 60%. 

Bronze plans also come with high deductibles, meaning that you will probably pay a few thousand dollars on your own before your insurance kicks in and begins helping with costs. Bronze plans are the best choice for those who don’t usually require much healthcare, aside from preventative check-ups and services, and those who don’t take more than one prescription regularly. 


Silver plans are the second-lowest metal plans in the Marketplace, and insurance companies in this tier will cover approximately 70% of your medical expenses in a given year. You will cover the other 30%. Silver plans have a higher monthly premium than bronze plans, but they usually come with lower deductibles, typically under a couple of thousand dollars. 

Silver plans will help you get more of your care covered, and you can expect to pay moderate costs whenever you see a doctor or healthcare professional. Silver plans tend to be the best choice for those who can afford to pay a higher monthly premium to get more coverage. 


Gold plans are the second-highest metal in the Marketplace, and these plans come with high monthly premiums. Insurance companies will foot 80% of the healthcare costs you require within the year, leaving you with only about 20%. 

Gold plans also come with low deductibles, usually under $1,000. These plans are excellent for people who have chronic illnesses, tend to require hospital or specialist visits or take several prescriptions on a regular basis. Those who can afford the high monthly premiums benefit greatly when they need a lot of care. 


Platinum plans are the highest metal available, and these plans will cover around 90% of your healthcare costs within the year. These plans have the highest monthly premium, but they often come with an ultra-low deductible or no deductible at all. 

If you, or a loved one, requires a high degree of medical attention on a regular basis, or you are willing to pay more each month to not have to cover the rest of your costs throughout the year, these plans may be for you. 

No matter which plans you are interested in, you may qualify for a lower cost based on your income from the Healthcare Marketplace. 

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