The Corner

Senator Mark Begich Calls for ‘Copper’ Plans

Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, one of four red-state Democrat senators who voted for Obamacare up for election next year, yesterday proposed a new category of insurance plans for the Obamacare exchanges: “copper” ones.

As reported by the Hill, S. 1729 would allow people to purchase plans with lower monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs than the existing tiers, an option Begich says would be useful for youth with lower health-care costs who want a less expensive option.

There are currently five tiers of plans offered under Obamacare: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Catastrophic (the last only available to customers under 30 and those who are awarded hardship exemptions). Though the plans all offer the same basic benefits, the tiers reflect differences in premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

Begich said that he has “never been shy about calling for a fix when it is needed,” and declared that “these ‘copper plans’ are just common sense — more choices and lower premiums means more control for Alaskans.”

In addition to the bill, Alaska’s junior senator wrote to President Obama requesting the creation of the “copper” plans. He also called for HealthCare.gov, the federal health exchange, to allow people to see an estimate of subsidies they can receive without having to certify their income, and said that states ought to be able to access federal funds to run their own online insurance exchanges.

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