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California health insurance    Catastrophic health insurance

Finding the Best Catastrophic California Health Insurance


Current Catastrophic health plan best values (detail below)
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 catastrophic has changed. Just five years ago, catastrophic insurance on the California market might have been a $2000 deductible. Today, $2000 is probably just high of average (the Silver 70 plan) and most people are actually looking at $5000 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 less than $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?

With the new ACA health plans, it really comes down to two different options.  First, we have to see if we qualify for a tax credit.  Tax credit is King!  Based on income, you may be eligible for Enhanced Silver benefits which are richer benefits for the same price as the normal Silver 70 plan.  For a purely catastrophic plan choice, the Bronze plan is the main option to compare to the Silver.  It generally has a $5000 deductible and $6250 max out of pocket.    There's also a catastrophic plan for people under 30 which is just slightly cheaper (and less rich) than the Bronze plan. 

You can quote all the catastrophic plans across the main carriers through our instant Quote engine.


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