What Is a Health Insurance Deductible?


Quick Answer

A health insurance deductible is the amount a patient pays for healthcare before the insurance plan begins to pay. The deductible may not apply to all services, and each healthcare plan is different.

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Full Answer

Health insurance deductibles are much different from the deductibles for other types of insurance. Unlike homeowner's or renter's insurance, health insurance companies will sometimes cover medical procedures until the patient meets his deductible. People with health insurance often experience lower healthcare costs than those without it, even when needing to meet their deductible first. Insurance companies negotiate rates with doctors and hospitals, resulting in better rates for the patient.

By choosing a healthcare plan, even those with a higher deductible, routine procedures like screenings and immunizations are covered, without the patient needing to meet the deductible first. Patients needing health insurance should take their time and shop around. It is possible to acquire health insurance with a reasonable deductible; knowing what is and is not covered before the deductible is met can save frustration when a health issue arises.

Generally, plans with low monthly premiums come with a higher deductible. Plans with higher monthly premiums come with a lower deductible. As of 2014, there is a $6,350 maximum out-of-pocket expense for individuals and a $12,700 maximum out-of-pocket expense for families.

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