Grandfathered Health Plans: Understanding the Pros and Cons

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many individuals have questions about their health insurance options. One type of plan that has sparked discussion is grandfathered health plans. In this blog, we’ll delve into the details of grandfathered plans, exploring their benefits and drawbacks to help you make informed decisions.

What are Grandfathered Health Plans?

Grandfathered health plans are insurance plans that were in existence before the ACA was enacted in 2010. These plans are exempt from certain ACA regulations, such as the requirement to cover essential health benefits and provide preventive services without cost-sharing.

Benefits of Grandfathered Health Plans

Lower Premiums: Grandfathered plans often have lower premiums compared to ACA-compliant plans. This is because they are not subject to the same regulatory costs and benefit requirements.

Drawbacks of Grandfathered Health Plans

Limited Coverage: Grandfathered plans are not required to cover the same essential health benefits as ACA-compliant plans. This means they may not include coverage for services such as preventive care, mental health services, and maternity care.

Higher Deductibles and Out-of-Pocket Costs: Grandfathered plans often have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs compared to ACA-compliant plans. This means you may have to pay more for healthcare services before your insurance coverage kicks in.

Case Study:

The post cited above presents a case study of a grandfathered plan. The individual has a BCBS HDHP with a $2,700 deductible and a $3,200 out-of-pocket limit. The premiums have been increasing steadily over the years, despite the individual being healthy and a nonsmoker.


While the premiums for the grandfathered plan are lower compared to ACA-compliant plans, it’s important to consider the potential costs associated with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. In the case of the individual in the post, it’s possible that they could face significant financial burden if they require extensive medical care.


Grandfathered health plans can offer lower premiums but come with limitations in coverage and potentially higher out-of-pocket costs. It’s crucial to carefully compare your options and consider your individual healthcare needs before deciding whether a grandfathered plan is right for you. If you’re unsure about your coverage options, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a licensed insurance agent. They can help you understand your plan and find the best coverage for your specific situation.

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