The “Real Deal”

A co-payment is a fixed amount ($20, for example) you pay for a covered health care service after you’ve paid your deductible.

Let’s say your health insurance plan’s allowable cost for a doctor’s office visit is $100. Your copayment for a doctor visit is $20.

  • If you’ve paid your deductible: You pay $20, usually at the time of the visit.
  • If you haven’t met your deductible: You pay $100, the full allowable amount for the visit.
  • Partial deductible payments incur hybrid fees.

Copayments (sometimes called “copays”) can vary for different services within the same plan, like drugs, lab tests, and visits to specialists. Generally plans with lower monthly premiums have higher copayments. Plans with higher monthly premiums usually have lower copayments.



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Co-Pay Cards May Be Creating More Controversy Instead of Solutions

Instead of reducing the actual price of their excessively priced medications, many companies have opted to provide co-pay cards / coupons as an affordable solution. However, co-pay cards may only lower the cost for some consumers and patients.




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But – The insurer is still left to pay the high price, which will eventually be passed back on to the patient / consumers in the form of higher health insurance deductibles. So – It doesn’t really seem like much of a solution when we all end up paying for these co-pay cards / coupons; does it?

Find out more here. (Source: Rebecca Mayer Knutsen, MM&M, 8/26/16)



We stopped taking credit cards altogether. The only credit cards we take are for call-in payments of balances. We have placed ATM machines in our lobbies and we educate patients in advance of their visits that we only take cash or check. Our cash income has increased, our credit card fees have decreased, and we make $1.50 from each transaction through our ATM. Our patients have taken to the idea so much that they use the ATM for personal cash for other transactions because our fee is the lowest of any ATM. It has been a win-win-win.  

Dr. Farshid Nejad, Beverly Hills, CA [PM Magazine]


For anyone contemplating taking credit cards for payments or copayments in your office, please be aware that some of the credit card companies require you to sign a contract. Don’t do that! If you do and you either have a problem with the company or find out that they are overcharging you, they will hold you responsible for the contract and may take you to court. There are enough credit card companies out that that do not require contracts and are highly competitive. 

-Dr. Elliot Udell, DPM, Hicksville, NY [PM Magazine]



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