Catastrophic Plan Choice

In addition to the four metal levels of plans available to consumers, some people also may be eligible for Catastrophic plans. These plans are available only to people younger than 30, or people 30 or older who are eligible for a hardship or affordability exemption.

Consumers younger than 30 may enroll without taking any additional special steps. Consumers age 30 or older will need to show an inability to afford coverage or proof of hardship. More information about how to qualify for an exemption may be found here.

Note, individuals who enroll in Catastrophic plans are not eligible for a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction to make coverage more affordable. Monthly premiums for Catastrophic plans are usually lower than other plans but deductibles are very high, so Catastrophic plans are not the best choice for everyone.  Be sure that consumers are considering out-of-pocket costs in addition to premium when considering their plan selection.

The following directions are a recap from the training portal.

How to Add a Catastrophic Exemption Certificate in the Worker Portal:

  1. Login to Worker portal (Exemptions Worker)
  2. Click on Certificate Management
  3. Click on Manage Exemption certificates
  4. Catastrophic Exemption Certificates page is displayed
  5. Click on ADD
  6. Enter the First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, Coverage Year, Certificate number (Format Eg: E12345Y)
  7. Click on ADD

How to Add an Exemption Certificate in the Consumer Portal:

  1. On the plan-shopping page, the following message is displayed: “Catastrophic-level plans may also be available to you. If you are age 30 or older, you will need to show that you cannot afford coverage or face a hardship in order to enroll in a Catastrophic insurance plan. If you have received an exemption to enroll in a Catastrophic plan, enter your exemption certificate number, or learn more here about applying for an exemption certificate.”
  2. A pop-up is displayed to enter the Exemption Certificate number.
  3. Input the Exemption Certificate number and click on Submit.
  4. The consumer will be able to buy a Catastrophic plan on the plan shopping page.

About “The Classroom”

“The Classroom” is Maryland Health Connection’s blog for its consumer assistance community, including navigators, authorized brokers, certified application counselors, caseworkers and call center staff. Check here for updates on training, website releases, new tools, and other helpful information as you help get Marylanders covered through the health insurance marketplace.

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For questions on this topic or to suggest additional topics for The Classroom, email mhc.trainingsupport@maryland.gov.