The deductible is how much you must spend before your insurance starts to pay its part toward your medical care. For instance, if your deductible is $1,000, that's how much you have to pay toward the cost of your care before your plan pays anything.

Some services may not require you to meet a deductible first. Check with your plan.

Keep in mind that expenses only apply to your deductible if they are for a service your insurance covers. For example, if your plan doesn't cover acupuncture and you pay $100 for it, that $100 doesn't count toward your deductible.

Your deductible starts over each year, even if you didn't reach it the year before. Here's an example: Your deductible is $1,000. You have only paid $800 for health care by the end of the year. The next year, you again have to pay $1,000 before your insurance pays, not $200.

Only some types of plans have deductibles. How much you have to pay depends on the health plan and its benefits.

A health plan with a higher deductible often has a lower premium, which is the amount you pay each month to have insurance.


WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sarah Goodell on June 21, 2021
© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Special Sections