Affordability is one of the main goals of the federal and state insurance benefits marketplaces, but some lawmakers and insurance industry experts are concerned that offering even cheaper health plans on the exchanges could end up being more expensive for consumers in the long run.
According to Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post, some Democratic senators and members of the insurance industry have proposed introducing copper plans to the exchanges. These plans would be cheaper than the bronze plans, which pay for 60 percent of healthcare costs for enrollees. Kaiser and the Post reported copper plans would pay only half of participants’ medical costs, which would allow for smaller premiums.
“Plans do considerable outreach, and they’re hearing that affordability is a top priority for consumers,” Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of AHIP, told Kaiser and the Post. “This is about access. It’s about how do we give people the opportunity to get into the market.”
The plans may encourage more people to enroll in healthcare coverage, but while plans in this category would be eligible for premium tax credits and have low premiums, they may not be entirely affordable. Concerns center around whether enrollees would be able to pay the higher costs once they do get sick. Yet, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that premiums are expected to rise next year, more people may chose copper plans if they make it onto the marketplaces.