Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health plans offered through an
Exchange, or qualified health plans (QHPs), to meet certain levels of actuarial value. ACA’s
required actuarial value levels are referred to as “metal levels”—bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
ACA’s metal levels are intended to allow consumers to compare plans with similar levels of
coverage in order to help them make informed decisions about their health insurance coverage.
Since coverage will be similar for all plans in a metal tier (for example, all silver plans),
consumers can focus on other plan factors, such as the premium and network of providers,
when selecting a health plan.
QHP issuers must offer at least one plan in the silver level and one plan in the gold level
through the Exchanges. Outside of the Exchanges, non-grandfathered plans in the individual
and small group markets must offer coverage that matches up to the metal levels.