A deductible is the amount a person needs to pay before their insurance will begin processing claims for payment in any given year. The billed amount is “applied” to claims as they are received by the insurance during the contract year. The patient must make payments to the doctor whenever an amount is applied to their deductible. When a patient has “met their deductible,” insurance will start paying their part of the charges incurred by the patients. Writing off deductibles violates federal law and violates the patient's and the doctor's contract with the insurance company.
Part of the "Understanding Insurance" series.