Catastrophic Health Insurance

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What is Catastrophic Health Insurance?

Catastrophic health insurance is a type of medical coverage designed primarily to protect individuals from extreme, unforeseen medical costs. This insurance typically has a low monthly premium but a very high deductible, meaning it’s meant for serious illnesses or accidents rather than routine medical expenses.

Who is it for?

Catastrophic coverage is designed for:
  1. Young adults under 30 who want to have a safety net against major medical events.
  2. Those who can’t afford traditional health insurance but want protection from severe financial consequences of serious medical conditions or accidents.

Benefits of Catastrophic Health Insurance

  1. Lower Premiums: Because it covers only significant medical expenses, premiums are typically much lower than standard health plans.
  2. Peace of Mind: It provides a safety net against unexpected major medical expenses.
  3. Preventive Services: Despite the high deductible, many plans offer three primary care visits per year at no additional cost and cover essential preventive services.

Limitations of Catastrophic Health Insurance

  1. High Deductibles: The deductible can be several thousand dollars, which must be met before the insurance pays out.
  2. Limited Coverage: Routine doctor visits, prescription medications, and other non-major medical expenses are generally not covered until the deductible is met.
  3. Not for Everyone: Eligibility is typically restricted based on age or financial hardship exemptions.

When is it Suitable

  1. Healthy Individuals: If you’re young, healthy, and rarely visit the doctor, this might be a cost-effective option.
  2. Financial Planning: For those who have saved money for minor medical expenses but need protection against potential bankruptcy due to severe medical events.
  3. Gap Coverage: It can serve as interim insurance between comprehensive plans, especially during life transitions.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Catastrophic Health Insurance

  1. Risk Assessment: Analyze your health risks. If you have chronic conditions or need regular medical attention, this might not be the best choice.
  2. Financial Standing: Ensure you have funds to cover the high deductible in case of a major medical event.
  3. Look Beyond Premiums: While monthly premiums are lower, out-of-pocket costs can add up if unexpected illnesses arise.


Catastrophic health insurance offers an affordable way to protect against significant medical expenses. However, it’s essential to evaluate your health needs, financial situation, and risk tolerance before deciding if this coverage is right for you. Always consult with a healthcare professional or insurance expert to make informed decisions.


Catastrophic health insurance is a type of insurance plan designed for individuals under 30 or some low-income people who are exempt from other ACA plans. It typically has lower monthly premiums and a very high deductible, covering essential health benefits after the deductible is met.

Generally, catastrophic health insurance is available for people under 30 years old or for some low-income people who are exempt from other ACA plans because no affordable coverage is available, or they qualify for a “hardship exemption.”

Catastrophic health insurance covers three primary care visits per year at no cost, even before the deductible is met. After the deductible is met, it covers essential health benefits.

The deductible for catastrophic health insurance is very high. In 2023, the deductible for these plans is $8,700.

Yes, but you will typically need to pay for prescriptions out of pocket until you meet the high deductible.

No, catastrophic health insurance plans are not eligible to be used with Health Savings Accounts.

You can apply for catastrophic health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the open enrollment period, or during a special enrollment period if you qualify.

Catastrophic plans have lower monthly premiums and higher deductibles than other ACA plans. They are designed to protect you in worst-case scenarios.

No, catastrophic plans aren’t eligible for premium tax credits or other savings based on your income.

Catastrophic health insurance may be a good option if you’re under 30, in good health, and want a low-cost way to protect yourself from very high costs in case of a serious accident or illness. However, it’s not the right choice for everyone, and it’s important to carefully consider your own health needs and financial situation before choosing a plan.

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