If cost is your main concern, you can still get insurance to cover emergencies. This type of insurance is called catastrophic insurance. Catastrophic insurance policies cover the 10 essential health benefits that the Affordable Care Act deems all policies must cover.

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What Is Catastrophic Insurance?
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The essential health services that catastrophic insurance covers include the following:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient services)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

In addition to these benefits, this type of coverage is also meant for worst-case scenarios like: 

  • Getting a serious sickness that requires costly inpatient services.
  • Needing emergency surgery.
  • Breaking a bone or getting a severe injury.

A catastrophic plan has very low premiums but a very high deductible. For example, the deductible for 2022 on catastrophic plans is $8,700. For these plans, you must spend your deductible amount out-of-pocket before the plan pays for all your covered services. 

Catastrophic plans through the Marketplace will cover a minimum of three primary care visits per year. These plans can also cover no-cost preventive services, such as blood pressure screenings. 

To enroll in a catastrophic insurance plan, you must be younger than 30 years of age. If you are older than 30, you may buy a plan only if you have a hardship exemption, such as:

  • Being homeless.
  • Facing foreclosure or eviction.
  • Being a victim of domestic violence.
  • Filing for bankruptcy.
  • Experiencing a natural or man-made disaster.

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Updated on 05/25/2022