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What Is Copay? A Question Often Heard Regarding Health Insurance

If you are fortunate enough to have medical insurance then you likely have to pay a copay when you go the doctor or get a prescription. But what is copay? Copay is the amount that a patient has to pay every time they see a doctor, pick up a prescription, or have a surgical procedure performed. The amount of copay depends upon the insurance company and the plan of the patient – whether it is health insurance for small businesses or for individuals.

Copay serves two functions:

A) First it makes the patient partly responsible for the cost of their medical care thus alleviating some of the burden from the insurance company.

B) Second a copay serves as a deterrent to keep individuals from seeking out unneeded visits to the doctor, medical procedures, and prescription drugs.

In an ideal world a copay would serve it’s purpose and help to keep costs down for insurance companies. Unfortunately sometimes a higher copay has a negative effect on a patient. For example if a person is seriously ill but cannot afford the copay on their medication, they may be forced to go without it.

Copay is a system designed to help reduce the cost of business for insurance companies by ensuring responsible action on the part of patients. While it is certainly understandable and even necessary for insurance companies to protect themselves, a closer evaluation of how much a patient must pay who is in serious need of medical care might be warranted.

Even though a copay poses a potential issue in that it might cause financial hardships for patients, it is necessary. Without a copay the potential for abuse of the medical system would place hardships upon insurance companies. With a higher cost of doing business the cost of insurance would go up, which in turn would make insurance too expensive placing an even greater hardship upon patients than a copay does.

If you need more information about co-pays or anything regarding health insurance, please call us at (816) 322 6350 or visit our website at

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