DEFINITION of 'Co-pay'

A type of insurance policy where the insured pays a specified amount of out-of-pocket expenses for health-care services such as doctor visits and prescriptions drugs at the time the service is rendered, with the insurer paying the remaining costs. However, unlike coinsurance, where the insured is required to pay a certain percentage of the covered costs, co-pay plans require the insured to pay a specified dollar amount.


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These co-pay fees may vary among insurers but will typically be $25 or less. For example, a co-pay plan may require the insured to pay $25 per doctor visit or $10 per prescription up to a specified coverage limit. To see if your insurance plan has a co-pay option, check your contract. If there is a co-pay option, it will usually be one set amount for doctor visits, emergency room visits and other medical services.

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