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Finding the Best Catastrophic California Health Insurance

Quick tips for California catastrophic health insurance plans
Current catastrophic health insurance plans in California Current Catastrophic health plan best values (detail below)
Most plans will have to switch Jan 1st 2014 which favors catastrophic type plans for short term Really only insuring 2013 since most plans will have to switch Jan 1st 2014 (detail below)
No Health Net rate increase expected for individual catastrophic health plans in California Health Net has notified us that no 2013 rate increase is planned on catastrophic plans
Clear Protection 3300
Quote and Compare California Catastrophic Health Plans (doctor networks, brochures, exclusions can be accessed by clicking on plan name through the quote)

Rates on the California health market have almost doubled in the last 18 months with more on the way.  Catastrophic or Major Medical as it is sometimes called has always made some sense but now, more than ever.  The very definition of what constitutes as as catastrophic has changed.  Just five years ago, catastrophic insurance on the California market might be a $2500 deductible.  Today, $2500 is probably just high of average and most people are actually looking at $3500 deductibles on average for individual California health insurance.  Let's take a look at what catastrophic health insurance really is, whether it makes sense, and which plans on the market currently fit the bill.

A quick explanation of catastrophic California health insurance

Catastrophic coverage options are actually pretty different than what most people expect when the ask or search for such plans.  Usually, people have ideas about $10K or $20K deductibles with no maternity, medications, or office visit.  Unfortunately, the market has many mandates placed on it and the least expensive plans on the market with legitimate carriers are much richer than these.  Maternity is now mandated on all plans effective 7/1/2012.  Before we go into the current plans that meet our definition, let's define catastrophic coverage.

Health insurance is all about the big (catastrophic) bills these days

Catastrophic insurance refers to insuring the big bills through a carrier and reducing the monthly premium to the lowest possible amount.   This is usually addressed with a high deductible.  A deductible is amount that you must pay first when medical expenses are incurred before the carrier will start to share the cost (usually in the form of a percentage share called co-insurance).  This is the main benefit way to reduce premium costs.  The quick and easy way to determine if this is a good approach for you is to run your instant quote above and then annualize the premiums.  Take the monthly premium shown in the instant quote and multiply up by 12.  How you can contrast deductibles and annual premium (also take into account max out of pocket which reflects your true out of pocket exposure).  For example, if by going up $1000 in deductible, you save $800/year in premium, that's not a bad trade off.  This comparison usually works in your favor for the richer plans and less so as you go down the benefit list.  For that reason, it's hard to justify a deductible over $1500-2500 and consequently, that's where the bulk of the market it.  California health insurance originally was about protecting from larger expenses but became richer when PPO's and HMO's finally helped to control the premium increases in the early 90's.  We started to see no deductible plans with rich benefits at that point.  It didn't last long and premiums continued their climb higher at a faster rate.  We're now back to where we started...high deductibles to cover the big bill.  So what makes sense on today's market?

What catastrophic plans work best on today's California health market?

Currently, the closest we have to true catastrophic health insurance is Anthem's Clear Protection $3300, Shield's Savings HSA plans, and Health Net's new PPO plans which are generally the lowest priced plans on the California market.  Generally, the lowest priced plans are by definition, what people mean by catastrophic coverage and this isn't a bad take on it, especially since even the lowest priced major medical plans on the market are still pretty comprehensive in light of the mandated benefits.  All this will change Jan 2014 when health reform kicks in since the benefit levels are mandated as well and the highest deductible plan on the market might be very rich (and very expensive) by today's standards.  We'll update our site to reflect how this affects any notion of catastrophic coverage in California.  You can always get updates on California health reform and Exchange.

Related Articles

Current catastrophic health insurance options in California
Anthem Blue Cross of California Clear Protection 3300 plan
Anthem California Feb 2013 Rate increase including catastrophic plans
Blue Shield California March 2013 Rate increase including catastrophic plans
The low cost Health Net Advantage Plans





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