There are different types of costs you will pay to use your insurance.
Remember that when you first buy your insurance, you pay a set monthly fee to make sure it’s there for you when you need it. That’s called a premium. That premium depends on a few things, like where you live, your age, how many people are in your family, the services you need, and whether you smoke. Depending on your income, you might qualify for a subsidy to lower your premiums. So premiums are different for everyone. And it’s important to pay those premiums on time, even when you are not using your insurance, so you are covered when a medical issue does come up.
Then, when you go to use your insurance — at the doctor’s office, or hospital, or pharmacy, for instance — you share some of the costs of your medical care with the insurance company. Those costs are called deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments. (See “What are deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments?”) You might hear this referred to as “cost-sharing” or “out-of-pocket costs” because while your insurance plan covers a good portion of your medical expenses, you also pay for some of those costs out of your own pocket. And those amounts depend on which type of plan you choose and what category it falls into: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, or catastrophic. (See “What will it cost me to buy this insurance?”)