A health insurance plan that has a high minimum deductible, which does not cover the initial costs or all of the costs of medical expenses. The deductible forces the insurance holder to pay the first portion of a medical expense before the insurance coverage kicks in. The minimum deductible for a plan to fall into the category of an HDHP varies each year. In 2006, it was more than $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families.
These health plans became more common when the new health savings account (HSA) legislation was signed into law in 2003. In order to open an HSA account, an individual must first have an HDHP. These high-deductible health plans are thought to lower overall healthcare costs by forcing individuals to be more conscious of medical expenses. The higher deductible also lowers insurance premiums, making health coverage more affordable.