Report: Obama lawyer missed chance to defend key aspect of health law at Supreme Court

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The law does require health plans to cover a federally regulated set of benefits if they're going to offer their products on federally subsidized state-based health insurance exchanges starting in 2014. However, the law offers consumers some flexibility in deciding how much they're willing to pay for those benefits.

The law does so by creating four tiers of benefits — known as platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans — with different levels of deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Bronze plans — the cheapest option — are akin to catastrophic insurance coverage that comes with low monthly premiums but sticks people with high out-of-pocket expenses before their benefits kick in.

"I would definitely say that if you listen to the court proceedings, it would be easy to come away with the impression that the healthcare reform law was requiring people to buy Cadillac insurance, which is certainly not the case," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt told The Associated Press.