The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers four metallic health insurance tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each plan has different monthly premiums, with Bronze being the lowest and most affordable option.
The Bronze plan can look incredibly tempting if browsing the ACA healthcare marketplace. Still, there are many things to consider when choosing your health plan.
Let’s look at the Obamacare Bronze plan, the cost and coverage, the benefits, who qualifies, and how to enroll. Use this guide to make an informed choice when choosing your health insurance plan.
Overview Of Obamacare Bronze Plans
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was introduced in 2010 to help low-income households find affordable and comprehensive health insurance. Not only is the insurance more affordable, but the ACA offers subsidies or tax credits to help carry the annual costs.
The ACA marketplace offers four healthcare tiers, with the Bronze plan being the lowest. The Bronze plan has the most affordable monthly premium. However, it has higher deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance costs of all four.
The Bronze plan is an excellent option for younger, healthier people. If you don’t have to visit the doctor often, the lower premium and higher out-of-pocket costs should balance each other out. It’s also a good option if you mainly want coverage for emergency care.
Who Is Eligible For A Bronze Plan?
The ACA was created for low-income households and individuals. So, to have access to the Bronze plan, you’ll need to meet the ACA eligibility criteria.
To access the ACA Bronze plan, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen, national, or legal non-citizen
- Not have or qualify for employee health insurance
- Not be a dependant on another health insurance plan
- Not have Medicaid coverage
- Not be imprisoned during the application period
Cost & Coverage Of Bronze Plans
Average costs depend on your age, the number of insured people, and the state you are insured in. As of 2023, the average cost of the Bronze plan across all the above points (the state, dependents, and age) is $342.
The Bronze plan coverage includes free preventative care:
- Some diagnostics screenings
- Annual health checkups
- Nutrition counseling for chronic diseases
- Fall prevention for elders (65 and older)
The plan also offers co-pay and co-insurance coverage for
- Laboratory testing
- Prescription medication
- Pediatric services
- Pregnancy and childbirth services
- Mental health services
- Addiction management and treatment
- Chronic disease prevention and management
- Emergency medical services
- Hospitalization after the out-of-pocket maximum has been reached
- Ambulance services
Your cover could also include other services, depending on your unique situation.
Benefits Of Bronze Plans
Now that you know what the plan offers, let’s consider some of the benefits of enrolling in a Bronze plan:
- The Bronze plan has the lowest monthly premium of all the ACA plans
- Provides cover for emergencies
- Applicants have access to subsidies to lower costs even further
- Provides access to essential healthcare services like drug and mental health treatment
- More accessible, especially for young individuals who can’t handle high monthly premiums but need emergency cover
How To Enroll In A Bronze Plan
To enroll in a Bronze plan, you must enroll during the open enrollment period from the 1st of November to the 15th of January unless you qualify for special enrollment.
Enrolling in a Bronze health plan requires certain information and documentation. The exact process and requirements can vary depending on your state, but here is the general information you’ll typically need:
- Personal Information: This includes your full name, birth date, Social Security number, and contact information.
- Household Information: You’ll need to provide information about your household, including the total number of people in your household and their relationships to you.
- Proof of Citizenship or Legal Residency: You may need to provide documentation to prove your U.S. citizenship or legal residency.
- Income Information: You’ll need to provide details about your household income, including recent pay stubs, tax documents, or other proof of income.
- Current Health Coverage Information: If you or anyone in your household currently has health insurance, you may need to provide information about that coverage.
- Payment Information: You must provide payment information to pay your first premium. This is typically done using a credit card or electronic funds transfer (EFT).
Bronze Plan Subsidies & Tax Credits
The ACA offers Bronze members access to subsidies or tax credits. The aim is to relieve the annual cost of health insurance, ensuring no family or individual is paying more than 10% of their annual salary toward healthcare.
Bronze plan members can access premium tax credits or subsidies, which can be used to lower monthly premiums or as a retroactive premium savings account. Bronze plan members do not have access to cost-sharing reductions.
To learn more, browse our Obamacare subsidies and eligibility guide.
Comparison Of Bronze, Silver, Gold, And Platinum Plans
Before settling for the Bronze plan, let’s compare it to the other ACA tiers. The exact numbers will depend on your income, needs, and the subsidies you qualify for.
|Monthly Premium||Out Of Pocket Costs||Deductibles||Insurance Pays||You Pay|
|Bronze||Lowest||Highest||Up to a few thousand dollars a year.||60%||40%|
|Silver||Moderate||Moderate||Lower than Bronze plan.||70%||30%|
|Platinum||Highest||Lowest||Lowest. Insurance starts paying almost immediately.||90%||10%|
How To Change Or Cancel A Bronze Plan
To change your healthcare plan, wait for the next enrollment period or apply for a special enrollment extension. When the time comes, log into your account and change your marketplace application if you have one. You might have to collect and send documents to verify any application changes.
You can cancel your Bronze plan at any time. However, the cancelation process can look different depending on why you’re canceling it.
If you want a hassle-free way to change or cancel your health plan, contact our expert team at Enhance Health to assist you.
The Affordable Care Act has enabled low-income households to get affordable and comprehensive health insurance. The Bronze plan offers the lowest monthly premium, a range of benefits and cover, but the highest out-of-pocket costs and deductibles.
If you’re unsure which plan is the best for your unique needs, enlist the help of Enhance Health. We’re an organization of health insurance experts that aim to make affordable insurance accessible to all.
Contact us today, and we’ll help you find the perfect insurance that suits your needs.