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What is an expanded bronze health insurance plan?

What is an expanded bronze health insurance plan?

An expanded bronze health insurance plan is an option that pays for some medical services before you meet your deductible.

Health insurance metal tiers and actuarial value

There can be hundreds of plans to choose from when buying individual and family health insurance. To help you narrow down your plan options, Marketplace plans are categorized according to metal tiers such as Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Each metal tier represents a range of actuarial value, a term used to describe the amount of coverage provided by a health insurance plan for the average person. 

In general, the higher the actuarial value, the more coverage the plan provides. Here are the actuarial value ranges by metal tier[1]: 

  • Bronze: 56-62%
  • Expanded Bronze: 56-65%
  • Silver: 66-72%
  • Gold: 76-82%
  • Platinum: 86-92%

Bronze vs. expanded bronze health insurance plans

While a traditional bronze insurance plan will only provide coverage after the deductible has been met, expanded bronze plans are required to cover at least one major service before the deductible is met. This means your expanded bronze plan may have copays or coinsurance for whatever major service they cover prior to the deductible. Expanded bronze plans vary and the major service covered may range from primary care visits, specialist visits, or inpatient hospital services. 

Are insurance companies required to offer expanded bronze plans?

Health insurance companies are not required to offer expanded bronze plans. If you’re shopping on the health insurance Marketplace, check the name of the plan to see if it has “Expanded” in the plan name or use the metal tier filter to specify your search criteria.

Is an expanded bronze plan right for me?

Everyone’s needs are different, so you’ll want to factor everything into your decision, ranging from premiums, deductibles, doctor networks, prescription drugs, among others. An expanded bronze health insurance plan may be the right fit if you expect to use a low amount of coverage for the plan year, but want the peace of mind of having coverage for specific medical services before the deductible.

[1] Source: Obamacare metal plans

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