Health insurance (sometimes called health coverage) pays for some or all of the cost of the health services you receive, like doctors’ visits, hospital stays, and visits to the emergency room. It helps keep your health care costs predictable and affordable. You may have to pay several different amounts for health insurance:

  1. You will generally pay a premium, a monthly fixed payment to the insurance company.
  2. You may have to pay a deductible. This is a fixed amount that you pay out of pocket before your health insurance begins to pay for your health services.
  3. After you have met the deductible, you and your insurance company typically share the cost of covered health services. Your insurance pays most of the cost first, and then you pay the remaining cost. The amount that you pay is either a copayment (a fixed amount) or a coinsurance (a percentage of the cost of the service).

Medicare is a type of health insurance administered by the federal government.

Return to: Medicare Basics

This content was created and copyrighted by the Medicare Rights Center ©2021. Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities. These materials are presented here with support from and may not be distributed, modified or edited without Medicare Rights’ consent. takes pride in providing you as much information as possible concerning your Medicare options, but only a health insurance broker licensed to sell Medicare can help you compare your plan options from various insurance companies. When you’re ready, we recommend you discuss your needs with a Licensed Sales Agent.