Grace Navigating the Pricing System of the New Health Exchanges

When the new health exchanges begin making an appearance, consumers will be happy to find that the pricing options have become streamlined and more user-friendly. The various packages of family health plans will be categorized by the actuarial value of the plan, which means the more you pay, the better your benefits.

We have the pricing categories explained here to help you shop for the best Affordable Health Plan for your needs.


Platinum family health plans will offer an actuarial value of 90% and will be touted as the "Cadillac" of affordable health insurance. Variables with this plan might include lower deductibles and co-pays, as well as more flexibility in terms of choosing out-of-network doctors for services. The rates on the platinum family health plans will most likely be the highest also.


Gold will be similar to platinum family health plans, but the overall actuarial value will drop to 81%. This might translate into slightly higher deductibles or more expensive co-pays for office visits. Still, the gold category will offer affordable health insurance that encompasses a wide range of services and providers – for a higher price tag than the silver or bronze counterparts, of course.


Silver family health plans will offer comprehensive coverage for a slightly lower premium. The actuarial value of a silver affordable health plan will run at about 73%. These plans may include more restrictive networks or higher deductibles overall. However, the premiums will be lower, making them more affordable health plan options for cash-strapped families.

Since many preventative services will be covered in full under the Affordable Care Act, healthy families with few medical issues might find the silver, or even the bronze plans, to be the most economical choice.


This will be considered the least expensive family health plan available by the health exchanges. With an actuarial value of just 65%, these affordable health plans may include restrictive networks like health maintenance organizations (HMOs). They may also require higher deductibles and co-pays. Families primarily looking for basic health coverage for preventative services may find bronze plans to be the most affordable health insurance for them.


A fifth category of affordable health insurance will be known as the catastrophic plan. These affordable health plans will come with a very low premium and will basically be used to cover any unexpected medical emergencies. They will only be available to individuals under the age of 30 who can prove they are in good health when they purchase the affordable medical insurance.

With plenty of affordable health plan options available, the health exchanges will offer a whole new way to shop for individual and family medical insurance. With easy-to-understand pricing packages, consumers will be better equipped to select the best affordable health plan for their needs.

While basic coverage will be included in every plan, the categories demonstrate differences in cost-sharing and benefits. With specific categories that offer similar health plans within each grouping, consumers can find affordable health insurance that provides the coverage they need at a price they can afford.

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