The deductible is the initial dollar amount that you must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays its share. The deductible may range from $500 or more per year per individual or $2,500 or more per year per family. For example, if you have a $500 annual deductible, you will pay for the first $500 of covered expenses for each person insured.

If you are buying coverage for your family, ask how the family plan works. Some plans may not require each family member to pay the deductible after two people in the family have paid it.

Read the policy carefully. Some policies require you to pay a deductible on a calendar year basis or on a per sickness or injury basis.