What is Deductible in Health Insurance in 2023

Deductibles and co-payments are important to understand when choosing a health insurance plan. Learn more in this article.

If you want to know about health insurance, you may need to get up off the couch. Health insurance deductibles are higher now than in more than three decades. 

There are two types of deductibles in health insurance; annual deductible and lifetime maximum. If you have any medical condition that requires expensive treatment or medication, you should check if your policy has a deductible.

A deductible is an amount you pay before the health insurance company covers your medical bills. You’ll be billed by your healthcare provider directly and you’ll be responsible for paying your portion of the bill.

After your deductible is met, you won’t be charged any co-pay for your services. Some policies require you to pay part of the first $2,500 of your claim, which is called out-of-pocket coverage.

What Is a Health Insurance Deductible?

The health insurance deductible is a term used to describe the amount of money you will have to pay out of pocket for health care expenses before the insurance provider starts covering your health care costs.

The amount an insured person must pay out of pocket costs for eligible healthcare services is deductible on their health insurance plan. The high deductible health plan varies depending on the health plan. Accordingly, the higher the monthly premium, the lower the deductible.

Among the other healthcare costs associated with health insurance are:

  • Keeping your health insurance coverage requires you to pay a monthly premium.
  • There may be a copayment for a particular service. It does not count toward the deductible.
  • A coinsurance payment reflects the insured person’s responsibility for some services above and beyond the deductible.

Insurers or their family deductible must pay a limited amount of out-of-pocket health insurance costs through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

There may be some differences in the limits of high deductible health plans sold elsewhere.

The ACA out-of-pocket maximum is based on deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, while premiums, out-of-network charges, and spending on not covered services are excluded. Health Insurance Marketplace ® is a registered trademark of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Coinsurance – what does it mean?

Coinsurance is a percentage of the amount of insurance covered by the customer, also known as deductible. The deductible is the amount the customer must pay before the insurance kicks in and covers the remainder of the cost.

Coinsurance is one of the major points to discuss with customers because it gives a clear picture of how the total costs of the policy will be divided between the insurer and the insured. 

How do health insurance deductibles work?

In the United States, health insurance deductibles are a fact of life. Many people, however, have no idea how deductibles work. To clarify, a deductible is the amount of money you must pay toward your health care expenses upfront before any insurance company covers your claims.

It can be as low as $0 per year or as high as $10,000 per year. If you are insured by a company that offers an HSA plan, the deductible is separate from the health plan itself. 

Deductibles are designed to protect consumers from being responsible for unexpected expenses while making healthcare services more affordable.

As such, deductibles are often viewed as a form of insurance because they limit the amount a consumer must pay out of pocket before coverage kicks in. But they’re not insurance. Instead, deductibles are meant to protect consumers from having to pay for the first portion of a bill. 

High-deductible Health plans: benefits and drawbacks

As the name suggests, high-deductible health plans have a higher deductible than low-deductible health plans or “traditional” health plans. These plans can also offer the following benefits:


  • A PPO plan typically has lower premiums than a POS plan
  • There is no need to narrow networks as with HMOs
  • Health benefits may be more affordable for people who rarely use them
  • You may have lower monthly bills if you are not on expensive medications
  • It is the negotiated rate between the insurer and the healthcare provider that determines out-of-pocket expenses
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs), which never expire, can help policyholders cover out-of-pocket expenses
  • When members are generally healthy and don’t anticipate medical expenses, they may be able to save money on their premiums. You pay less upfront but are responsible for 100% of out-of-pocket expenses until your deductible is met.
  • HSAs allow employees to contribute pretax money to an account devoted to qualified medical expenses. The funds roll over from year to year if not used.


  • Out-of-pocket expenses are high for chronic illness patients
  • Your deductible covers prescriptions, office visits, and diagnostic tests
  • Before your insurance company will pay anything for surgery, you must hit your deductible
  • HSA benefits aren’t being maximized if you have high out-of-pocket expenses
  • Families can have high deductibles (up to $13,000).

The concept of copayments and coinsurance

Health insurance plans, with some exceptions, begin covering covered medical costs once you pay the annual deductible.

The copay is a set amount that you have to pay each time you go to a doctor or urgent care facility, receive medication, or receive medical treatment. Once the deductible has been met, you will still have to pay the copay.8

A co-payment is not the same thing as a copay. A co-payment is a fixed percentage of a bill for a medical service that you are required to pay after your deductible has been met under the terms of your insurance policy.

Final Thought

If you’re paying close to the maximum allowed deduction, you probably won’t see any tax savings. The key to maximizing your healthcare benefits is to shop around for the plan that fits your budget the best. Be sure to check the fine print and know what each plan covers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to have a high or low deductible for health insurance?

If you do not have health insurance, then it is probably better to have a low deductible. That way, you do not have to pay a huge amount of money out of pocket before you start to receive benefits. If you already have health insurance, it is best to have a high deductible. This way, you will only have to pay out of pocket when you actually need it. 

What is a deductible vs copay?

A deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance begins to pay for the cost of medical care. A copay is the amount of money you pay for every visit or prescription that is covered by your insurance. Copays vary by the insurance company pays, the type of insurance plan, and even your age and gender. 

How do you meet your deductible?

This depends on your plan and what type of insurance you are purchasing. Most plans have a yearly deductible and some may also have a lifetime maximum. You can get help paying this deductible by asking your agent for assistance. 

Is $1500 a good deductible for health insurance?

Yes, $1500 is a good deductible for health insurance. This is usually about half of what you pay each month for your medical care. Your deductible should cover the cost of your doctor’s visits and prescription drugs.

If you get sick and have to go to the emergency room, your medical bills will usually be covered by your insurance provider. It is important to remember to get your health insurance before you get sick. You should always keep copies of your prescriptions and your insurance card in your wallet or purse.

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