People under 30 and some people with limited incomes may purchase what is called a “catastrophic” health plan.  This plan protects policyholders from very high medical costs.

A catastrophic plan generally requires you to pay all of your medical costs up to a certain amount, usually several thousand dollars. Costs for essential health benefits over that amount are generally paid by the insurance company.

These policies usually have lower premiums than a comprehensive plan, but cover you only if you need a lot of care. They are intended to protect you from worst-case scenarios.

Catastrophic policies cover three primary care visits per year at no cost. They also cover free preventive benefits.

When you fill out a Marketplace application, you’ll see catastrophic plans listed as an option if you qualify. If you don’t qualify for a catastrophic plan, you will not see it as an option.