First, be sure to enter all of your personal information on Stride's site, clicking your way from your zipcode to your projected 2017 income. This will bring you to your "recommendation page," which displays Stride's top three recommended plans. Over 80% of Stride members choose one of these plans, so your job may be done here!
If you want to shop around a bit more and weigh your options, once you get to the "recommendation" page, be sure to click "compare plans" to see all plans available to you. From here, you can filter on different carriers to see which ones cover all or most of your doctors, as well as how much basic services will cost on the plan. You can also click into the plan card to reveal all of the plan details, including copays, coinsurance, deductible and out-of-pocket max.
Another important factor is the metal tier you want to chose. Identifying which metal tier is right for you will immediately narrow your choices and help you to make the right decision.
Bronze plans: Although your insurance is only covering 60% of the cost as compared to the 90% covered by a Platinum, Bronze plans have low monthly premiums. If you stay healthy and use insurance infrequently, you will likely save money on this type of plan.
Silver plans: Silver plans are similar to Bronze plans. They charge slightly higher premiums for coverage that kicks in sooner (meaning, this plan usually has a lower deductible too). Silver plans are often a good value for people who see the doctor from time to time and take a common medication or two. If your "MAGI" (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) is under 250% of the Federal Poverty Level then Silver Plans will also adjust the cost you pay for medical services received throughout the year.
Gold plans: These plans provide a lot of assistance paying for more medical expenses in exchange for a higher monthly premium. Many have very low deductibles -- sometimes as low as $0, which means coinsurance kicks in immediately on your first care of the year. Gold Plans are helpful if you expect to have large or frequent medical expenses or if you want the peace of mind knowing the majority of your expenses will be covered.
Platinum plans: These premium plans are typically for people who have ongoing health conditions that will require regular visits to doctors and specialists or special medical equipment and treatments. These are also great plans for those who want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will have almost negligible out-of-pocket medical expenses throughout the year. Platinum plans have the highest monthly premiums, but the most generous benefits. Many have $0 deductibles so you'll never pay more than 10% of your medical bill after the plan start date.
Check out our handy insurance guide here if you want more health insurance hacks and know-how!