Catastrophic plans are a fifth type of plan. Although they have the lowest monthly cost, the benefits are primarily limited to emergency situations, and you must meet certain eligibility requirements. As their name suggests, these plans provide health coverage during "worst-case "emergency scenarios. Catastrophic plans have the most affordable monthly rates, even lower than the rates of Bronze plan, however, their out-of-pocket costs tend to be the highest. Also unlike the metal plans, preventive care benefits are limited. To qualify for a Catastrophic plan, you must either be under the age of 30, or have a hardship exemption at any age.
A catastrophic plan provides the same Ten Minimum Essential Benefits as the other metal level plans, requires a high deductible to be met before the plan pays for health care costs. However, the deductible does not have to be paid for the following:
Primary care visits are visits to the doctor, or other healthcare provider who serves as the primary point of consultation for healthcare services. Preventive care includes medical services that prevent illness or disease from occurring, but doesn’t include care related to existing health problems or new medical problems that develop.
It’s important to note that catastrophic plans don’t qualify for Premium Tax Credits or Cost-Sharing Reductions. Before enrolling in a Catastrophic plan, you should confirm that you wouldn’t pay less for another metal level plan that is eligible for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, as this would increase your level of coverage without increasing costs.