calwatch wrote:Not necessarily - a "free" bronze plan may be better if all you need is catastrophic coverage. It's all about choice. So, for instance, a 60 year old in a two person household, with a MAGI of $30,000, in LA County can get a Blue Cross bronze plan for $48 a month, or a silver 87 plan for $155 a month. That $107 could make a difference. Remember that preventative care is free and you can see a doctor three times with bronze for $60. Yes, if you get into an accident and max out your benefits, the "payback period" for bronze vs. silver 87 is 39 months. Only you know your health conditions and your family's health history, and how $100+ a month might impact your budget. The good news is that you can switch from bronze to silver during open enrollments, with no pre-existing condition penalty. Of course, if they discovered that diabetes in February, paying all those costs could be painful.
I am not sure your math works out. Say you sign up for the plan in your example. The bronze plan will be cheaper as far as the monthly payments $48x12mos =$576yr. The Silver @ $155x12mos=$1860yr so yes that is a savings of $107mosx12mos=$1284yr. However the bronze plan has an annual deductible of $5000 for medical and the silver 87% plan has a $500 out of pocket so it you could save up to $4500 with the silver. Then lets look at the annual out of pocket Max for the bronze it is $6350 and the 87% silver lan has annual out of pocket max of $2250 or a $4000 difference. Now add the monthly premiums of Bronze $576 + max OOP of $6350=$6956 VS the Silver 87% premium of $1860+ the max OOP of $2250= $4110. So if you use your Max OOP the silver 87% would save you $2846 per year.
Of course no one knows for sure how much they will use there plan and if you dong need much medical in a year the bronze will come our cheaper but for most folks in the 60 yr age group its a pretty good bet that they will eventually need to use there insurance and for me the extra $107 per month is cheap insurance compared to the alternative. The biggest thing I see against the high deductible bronze plans is it takes discipline to budget for the self insurance part and most folks I know lack that.
Now I am basing my opinion only on the Enhanced Silver 87% vs the Std Bronze plans in your example. Only these special subsided plans have the lower OOP without that its still a toss up as to what is best depending on your personal needs.