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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Back to ACA Health Insurance Terms List

Catastrophic plan

A catastrophic plan is a low-cost health plan. It generally comes with a lower premium than bronze, silver, gold or platinum-level policies, so the amount you pay each month for coverage tends to be less than these other types of plans.

The deductible for a catastrophic plan is high -- equal to the maximum annual out‐of‐pocket limits allowed under the Affordable Care Act. In 2015, those out-of-pocket limits are $6,600 for an individual and $13,200 for a family.

These health plans are required to cover at least three primary care visits per year even if you have not yet met your deductible. When you see your doctor, you also covered for preventive care at no cost to you.

Catastrophic plans cover the essential health benefits that all policies sold through your state Marketplace must include. However, you do have to pay the full deductible before the plan helps pay for any of that care.

A catastrophic plan is not available to everyone. You are eligible if:

    1. You are younger than 30.

    1. You are over 30 but approved for a “hardship exemption.” 

    1. You can't afford another type of health insurance.

    1. You are getting insurance for a family where each person is younger than 30.

    1. You can find a catastrophic plan in your state's Marketplace, under individual coverage. For this type of plan, you cannot get a tax credit or lower out-of-pocket costs based on your income.

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Health Insurance Terms

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