What does a deductible mean?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A deductible is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company starts paying your covered health care expenses. For example, if your deductible is $250, you have to spend $250 for doctors' visits or for prescription medications before your health insurance company will start to pay.

A health insurance deductible works in a similar way to auto insurance. For example, if you get into a fender bender on the way to work, you have to pay your deductible amount and then your insurance company pays the rest. Health insurance is the same way. Deductibles span a one-year time period, so during those twelve months you’ll only have to pay the deductible once per year. Be sure to check your plan for specific coverage details.

This content original appeared on
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Your health insurance deductible is the amount of money you need to cough up before your insurance company starts covering their share of the bill or reducing your co-pays.

Some have separate deductibles for health care and prescriptions. Some insurance plans have baritone bass loooooow deductibles (which are typically associated with soprano hiiiiiiigh monthly premiums) while others offer sky high deductibles (which are typically associated with low monthly premiums).

Deductibles can be individual or family. The family deductibles are usually twice the individual deductible, but it includes several people. Also, deductibles can change each year, depending on the insurer etc., and the small print.

Continue Learning about Health Insurance

Healthcare Generosity has Overwhelming Benefits for You and Society
Healthcare Generosity has Overwhelming Benefits for You and Society
In tough times, lots of folks think when it comes to healthcare, tightening the purse strings, letting folks fend for themselves and advocating tough ...
Read More
What is accidental death insurance?
Maria Ferrante-SchepisMaria Ferrante-Schepis
Accidental death insurance provides a payout if you die in an accidental way. This could be a car ac...
More Answers
How can I keep records of my out-of-pocket expenses?
Keeping records of your out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses is important if you want to includ...
More Answers
What Does Florida Blue Do That Is Different from Traditional Insurance Companies?
What Does Florida Blue Do That Is Different from Traditional Insurance Companies?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.