Understanding Deductible in Your Indian Health Insurance Plan

What is a Deductible?

Simply put, a deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for covered medical expenses before your health insurance company starts sharing the cost. Think of it as your initial contribution towards your medical bill. Only after you’ve paid the deductible amount will your insurance company step in and cover the remaining expenses, up to the policy limits.

Why do deductibles exist?

  • Reduces Premiums: Plans with higher deductibles typically come with lower premiums. This is because the insurance company shoulders less risk for smaller medical bills.
  • Discourages Overutilization: By requiring you to pay a portion upfront, deductibles can discourage unnecessary doctor visits or tests.

How much are deductibles in India?

Deductible amounts in India can vary significantly depending on your chosen plan, insurer, and factors like your age and health status. Here’s a general range to give you an idea:

  • Individual Plans: Rs. 5,000 - Rs. 50,000+
  • Family Plans: Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 1,00,000+

Understanding deductible with an example

Let’s say you have a health insurance plan which gives you cover of 1 lakh with a deductible of Rs. 20,000. Unfortunately, you get appendicitis and require surgery with a total bill of Rs. 1,00,000.

  • In this scenario, you would first pay Rs. 20,000 (deductible) out of your pocket.
  • Your insurance company would then cover the remaining Rs. 80,000.

Types of Deductibles:

  • Annual Deductible: This is the most common type of deductible, where the deductible amount resets every policy year. For example, if your policy has an annual deductible of ₹10,000, you need to fulfill this amount every year before your insurer starts covering your medical expenses.

  • Per-Claim Deductible: In this type, the deductible applies to each claim made by the policyholder. For instance, if your policy has a per-claim deductible of ₹2,000 and you make three claims in a year, you’ll have to pay ₹2,000 for each claim before the insurance company covers the remaining expenses.

Choosing the right deductible

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to deductibles. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Financial situation: If you have a healthy emergency fund and can comfortably afford a higher deductible, you’ll benefit from a lower premium.
  • Medical history: If you’re generally healthy with a low risk of needing medical care, a higher deductible plan might be suitable. However, if you have pre-existing conditions or anticipate needing frequent medical attention, a lower deductible might be a better choice for peace of mind.
  • Frequency of claims: Consider how often you typically use health services. If you rarely visit the doctor, a higher deductible plan might save you money.

Important points to remember about deductibles

  • In case of Per-claim deductible, it applies per hospitalization event during the policy year. If you have another unrelated hospitalization later, you’ll need to pay a fresh deductible.
  • Some plans might have separate deductibles for outpatient and inpatient care.
  • Deductibles typically don’t apply to preventive care services like checkups or vaccinations.

Getting the most out of your deductible

  • Maximize preventive care: Regular checkups and preventive screenings can help identify and address health issues early, potentially avoiding expensive treatments down the road.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Taking care of your health can reduce your risk of needing medical care and help you avoid exceeding your deductible.
  • Negotiate medical bills: Don’t be afraid to negotiate hospital bills before finalizing them. You might be able to get a discount, especially if you’re paying a portion out of pocket.


Deductibles play a crucial role in health insurance policies by promoting cost-sharing between policyholders and insurers. While they may seem daunting at first, understanding how deductibles work can help you make informed decisions when choosing a health insurance plan. Assess your healthcare needs, budget constraints, and risk tolerance level before finalizing a policy with a deductible that suits your requirements. Remember, consulting a financial advisor or insurance agent can help you navigate your options and select a plan that aligns with your specific needs.