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A deductible in health insurance is an amount that you are required to pay before your health insurance policy kicks in. So, the insurance provider shall cover the claim after you have paid the deductible amount. For instance, if you make a claim of ₹50,000 and your policy has a deductible of ₹10,000, then the insurer is liable to pay ₹40,000 while you have to pay the remaining ₹10,000.


However, the insurer shall only cover the insurance claim if the amount exceeds the deductible in health insurance. If you make a claim that is less than the deductible amount, the insurance company is not liable to pay anything. So in the previous case, if you were to make a claim of ₹5,000 while your policy has a deductible of ₹10,000, the insurance company will not cover anything as the claim is less than the deductible. In this article, let us understand how deductibles in health insurance work and their pros and cons.

Important Update (Dated May 30, 2024) – Good news for Health Insurance policyholders! According to the Master Circular on Health Insurance Business 29052024 rolled out on May 29, 2024 by IRDAI, insurers are to decide on the request for cashless claims within 1 hour of receiving the request. Also, the final claim is to be granted within 3 hours after the policyholder’s discharge from the hospital. Insurers have been directed by IRDAI to establish necessary systems and procedures for this process by July 31, 2024.


The Master Circular on Health Insurance Business 29052024 circular is available here -

Why Do Insurance Policies Have Deductibles?

Deductibles in health insurance help insurance companies achieve two important objectives:

  • Providing Checks and Balances - Insurance companies view deductibles in health insurance as essential checks and balances to protect against too many frivolous claims. As the policyholder has a health plan to fall back onto, the insured person might not take the necessary precautionary measures. However, the insurance company ensures that the policyholder also has financial accountability to some extent by ensuring they contribute towards the expenses as well.

  • Prioritising Responsibilities - Deductibles also secure insurers against a large number of small claims that might overwhelm them and hinder their ability to provide cover to the insured against a single large catastrophic claim. So, in a way, the deductible in health insurance allows the insurance company to prioritise its responsibilities – a large number of small claims or a small number of large claims. Given the nature of medical emergencies, it is natural that insurance companies prefer the latter.

How Do Health Insurance Deductibles Work?

A health insurance deductible requires the insured to pay a certain fraction of the total medical cost before the insurance coverage kicks in. Without a deductible in health insurance, policyholders would tend to make more claims, regardless of the cost. But the deductible clause shares the burden of the claim with the insured and thus, deters them from making smaller health claims. Thus, the policyholder needs to first clear the health insurance deductible before the insurer covers the remaining medical expenses.

Types of Deductibles in Health Insurance

Here are five types of deductibles that you may find in health insurance plans:

  • Compulsory Deductible - A compulsory deductible is the one which is decided by the insurer, and the policyholder has to pay this amount before the policy coverage kicks in.

  • Voluntary Deductible - A voluntary deductible is where the insured has the freedom to decide the amount of deductible applicable to their policy. By opting for a higher deductible, the insured can avail of a lower premium amount and vice versa.

  • Cumulative Deductible - A cumulative deductible is applicable to family floater plans wherein each policyholder makes payments to meet the specified deductible in health insurance.

  • Comprehensive Deductible - A single deductible amount applicable to all the covers that a policyholder may add to his/her insurance plan is termed as a comprehensive deductible.

  • Non-Comprehensive Deductible - A sum that the insured is liable to pay for certain medical benefits or covers and isn’t applicable to all covers in the policy is known as a non-comprehensive deductible.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Health Insurance Deductibles

Advantages & Disadvantages of Health Insurance Deductibles

Now that you have learnt what is a deductible amount in health insurance with examples, let’s move to the benefits and drawbacks of deductibles -

Pros of Deductibles in Health Insurance

Cons of Deductibles in Health Insurance

  • You can avail of health insurance facilities without any trouble, even if deductibles are applicable.

  • As deductibles discourage you from raising small claims, you might be eligible for a No Claim Bonus (NCB) to avail of insurance perks.

  • A higher deductible in health insurance can lead to an increased financial burden.

  • You will be required to pay for the medical expenses before your insurance policy covers the remaining cost. This can be an issue in case you do not have the monetary resources to cover the compulsory deductible.

  • In case the claim amount doesn’t exceed the deductible, the insurer will not cover any healthcare expenses.

Why Should You Choose a Deductible Insurance?

Choosing deductible insurance has various benefits to offer:

  • Reduces Policy Premium: If you choose a high-value deductible amount, the policy premium amount will be reduced. This helps you save a good amount in the long run.

  • Saves Insured Sum Amount: Deductibles minimise the number of claims you make. The fewer the number of claims, the more the insured sum amount will be. This is beneficial for the policyholders, during emergencies when there is a need for lump-sum amounts.

  • Discounts:  Insurance companies offer No-Claim bonus points to the policyholder that can be redeemed in the form of discounts on premium payments.

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FAQs related to Deductible in Health Insurance

What is the amount of deductible charged by an insurance company?

There is no fixed amount of deductible as it depends on your insurance policy and the type of deductible you have opted for.

My medical bill is ₹20,000 whereas my health insurance policy has a deductible of ₹25,000. While I get insurance coverage?

Unfortunately, no. For your health insurance policy to cover you, the claim amount should be greater than the deductible amount mentioned in your health plan.

Can I choose the amount of deductible I want for my policy?

Yes. You have the option of either having a compulsory or a voluntary deductible. If you opt for a voluntary deductible, you can decide the amount of deductible you want in your health insurance policy. However, you must know that the deductible in your health insurance policy will be related to the health premium you pay, i.e. a lower premium would mean a higher deductible and vice versa.

What is the meaning of no charge after the deductible?

No charge after deductible means that after paying your deductible for that policy year, your insurance coverage will kick in. In this case, your plan will cover 100% of the healthcare costs for the policy period up to the specified limit.

What is deductible in medical billing?

A health insurance deductible is a sum that a policyholder must cover as a part of the claim before the insurance provider pays the remaining claim amount. 

Should I choose low or high-deductible insurance?

Choosing low or high-deductible insurance depends upon your medical needs. If you do not have any immediate medical requirement, then you should choose a high deductible insurance, however, if there is a foreseen medical expense or you are planning any treatment, then you should choose a low deductible insurance.

What will happen if I don't pay the deductible insurance amount?

In situations where you do not pay the agreed deductible insurance amount to the insurance company, the insurance company has the legal right to deny the claim request and release the settlement amount.

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