Study Shows “Copper Plan” Would Lower Premiums by 18 Percent

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Study Shows “Copper Plan” Would Lower Premiums by 18 Percent

Bill by Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) would expand employer health coverage

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Council for Affordable Health Coverage today released an estimate by Avalere Health LLC showing that legislation to permit a new, less expensive tier of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act would lead to an additional 350,000 Americans keeping their employer sponsored health insurance in 2016. Because fewer people would access exchange subsidies, taxpayers would spend $5.8 billion less, while employers and individuals would pay $5.5 billion less in penalties.

“Lower spending, taxes, deficits and premiums - this legislation provides needed relief to small businesses, their employees and taxpayers,” said Council for Affordable Health Coverage President Joel C. White. “The Affordable Care Act requires more expensive insurance than many small employers can afford. The Copper plan creates a new, more affordable option that businesses and their workers want and need. Congress ought to pass the plan immediately.” 

The estimate is for The Expanded Consumer Choice Act (S. 1729), sponsored by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and seven colleagues.  The new Copper tier of coverage would require plans to cover 50% of medical costs, which would cost 18% less than currently available Bronze level plans.

“Even with subsidies, individuals and families still struggle to afford coverage.  This bill would lower premiums by 18 percent compared to the lowest level bronze plans currently offered in the exchanges.  That would offer welcome relief for hard working Americans and would increase the likelihood of small retailers retaining the health insurance coverage currently provided to their employees,” said Neil Trautwein of the National Retail Federation.

Avalere estimates the lower cost copper plan would attract more of the uninsured onto the exchanges—meaning more would obtain subsidies—but the average subsidy would be somewhat lower because many who this year purchased bronze plans would switch to copper. 

“The nation's self-employed and micro-businesses face many challenges in accessing affordable health coverage, often confronting barriers not faced by larger employers.  We are pleased Senator Begich introduced this bill to create a more affordable option for those unique small entrepreneurs who seek to start, save and grow their small businesses,” said Katie Vlietstra of the National Association for the Self Employed.

Cosponsoring The Expanded Consumer Choice Act are Senators Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Mary Landrieu Angus King, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin.

“We are glad there is strong support in the Senate.  We are asking Senator Reid to bring this bill up for a vote in September. We are asking all Senators, Republicans and Democrats, to support it. If a bill lowers taxes, lowers deficits and premiums and creates additional choices for our customers, to us that’s a health care win,” concluded White.

The Avalere study is available at:


The Council for Affordable Health Coverage is a broad-based association of organizations representing consumers, physicians, small businesses, large employers, manufacturers and retailers, franchises, insurers, brokers and agents dedicated to the principle that health coverage should be affordable for all Americans. 


The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy. The NASE Small Business Locator helps identify and connect our nation’s smallest businesses. The NASE is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States. For more information, visit the association's website at

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