Report: Top-tier exchange plans not always most expensive

Although premiums increase from lower-tier plans to higher-tier plans sold on health insurance exchanges, premiums don't increase proportionately compared to the additional medical expenses covered, a new report from HealthPocket found. Bronze plans are usually the least expensive coverage options when shopping on exchanges; however, silver, gold and platinum plans also can be considered well-priced plans depending on how consumers use medical benefits. "Our research demonstrates the importance of considering anticipated out-of-pocket costs as well as premiums when choosing a health plan," Kev Coleman, head of research and data at HealthPocket, said yesterday in a statement. For example, for a 30-year old consumer who visits both a primary care and specialist doctor four times a year, platinum plans have the highest premiums, but they also average lower total annual costs. If the 30 year-old doesn't see a specialist doctor and instead visits a primary care doctor eight times a year, then the silver plan would provide the lowest premiums and out-of-pocket costs annually. Report