The main difference between plans is cost-sharing. Bronze plans cover 60 percent of expected medical costs, silver plans will cover 70 percent, gold will cover 80 percent and platinum 90 percent.
Midrange silver plans were considered the benchmark when the law was written more than three years ago. Lawmakers keyed the tax credits to the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver plan in a local area.
People with modest incomes may still come out ahead by sticking with a silver plan instead of going for bronze. That's because additional help with out-of-pocket costs such as copays will only be available to people enrolling in a silver plan.
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