What is Catastrophic Health Insurance?

Catastrophic health insurance is the most necessary of any health insurance coverage. Catastrophic coverage helps you pay for a very large, unexpected claim, typically due to an emergency medical procedure. Even if you do not have a comprehensive health plan, having coverage in case of an emergency can protect you from financial ruin and bankruptcy.

Catastrophe Only Coverage

It is possible to have health coverage that only assists you in case of a claim exceeding certain limits. This can be done by electing a very high deductible. You can also select a high self-insured retention (SIR), meaning you will pay for all small claims. Ultimately, with a catastrophe only plan, you are on your own unless you have a true medical emergency. Typically, the plan will be arranged to cover all expenses exceeding a certain amount. You can also arrange to have it pay a portion of the expenses beyond a limit, but this may leave you paying a large amount yourself if you need a surgery or an emergency response team.

Expense of Catastrophe Coverage

Catastrophe-only coverage is cheaper to maintain in terms of premium than having a complete health care plan. Having health insurance that covers routine office visits can cost hundreds of dollars a month. Paying only for the rare chance of an emergency can lead to premiums as low as $20. However, if you need to go to the doctor for any routine claim, you will have to pay out of pocket. This can lead to even greater costs to you than if you elected a whole plan. Only you can decide how to manage this issue. Some healthy people choose to simply avoid the doctor unless they have an emergency. 

Where to Elect Coverage

You can elect catastrophe coverage with any major health insurance company. If you are looking to really cut costs though, you may consider a risk pool or an alternative company. These options, again, will not assist you for day to day needs. You will only call on these organizations in a major emergency, and you should not expect the claims process to go easy. You may need to wait several months before the policy picks up the expense. If you work with a more traditional insurer for your catastrophe coverage, your medical provider will have an easier time filing the claim appropriately. In any case, you need to keep all of your medical records.

Total Health Coverage

It may be the best idea to go with a more complete healthcare plan than electing only catastrophe coverage. This can keep you healthy before you are admitted due to a serious, untreated illness. You can still keep your expense low by electing a high deductible and being careful about your health insurance choices. Instead of asking for expensive blood work, you can talk to your doctor about the benefits of these exams and choose whether it is appropriate. You can also use nurse help lines instead of visiting a doctor when you have minor questions.

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