Dem proposes 'copper plans' under ObamaCare

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would create a new "copper" plan under ObamaCare, which would give people access to less expensive health insurance plans.

Begich's bill, S. 1729, would let people buy plans that have lower monthly premiums, but would require them to pay more out-of-pocket medical costs.

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Begich said his bill would be useful for younger people who tend to have lower healthcare costs and want a less expensive option. But it would still ensure that at least half of the covered services under a copper plan would be paid for by insurance companies.

The Alaska senator also said his proposal would work better for people in his home state.

"I have never been shy about calling for a fix when it is needed, and this new bill is just one of the ways we can — and should — make the healthcare law work better for Alaskans," Begich said Tuesday. "These 'copper plans' are just common sense — more choices and lower premiums means more control for Alaskans."

Begich's bill might also address the concern that not enough young people will sign up for health insurance under ObamaCare, which would make the overall pool of enrollees more risky and lead to higher premiums for everyone.

ObamaCare created platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans, and also required members of Congress and their staff to buy only gold plans through the Washington, D.C., health insurance exchange.

On Tuesday, Begich sent President Obama a letter that called for the creation of a copper plan under ObamaCare. That letter also called for an improvement to the HealthCare.gov website that would let people easily see an estimate of insurance subsidies they can receive, and said states should be able to access federal funds to implement their own insurance exchange websites. 

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