Despite an influx of high deductible and HSA plans and employers promoting more cost sharing, most employees are accustomed to rich benefits where the most common services are covered with limited financial exposure. When placed in an exchange environment where they can choose from a wide range of plan designs that differ by more than $250 per month for single coverage, more often than not those consumers prefer the richest benefit option available. Even if their employer is not funding a large portion of the premium, most employees prefer the more expensive Gold and Platinum plan designs.
The young and healthy and the overtly price sensitive individuals may choose lower cost options, but the majority favor richer plan designs – all else being equal. Only when price differentials become more exaggerated between Bronze and Platinum plan designs or when employer and Federal subsidies are restricted for richer benefit plans, do consumers favor the Silver and Bronze plan designs.