Copay in health insurance

Know what copay means in health insurance, and how it makes health insurance more affordable.
Copay in health insurance
3 mins

Health insurance has become essential in today's time, especially with rising medical expenses. Hence, it is important to choose a health insurance policy that meets your current and future medical requirements and is affordable in the long run. And, to make health insurance affordable, insurance companies offer a copay or copayment facility. This facility helps in reducing the premium on your health insurance policy.

Keep reading to understand what copay means and how it reduces your health insurance premium.

What is the meaning of ‘copay’ in health insurance?

Copay meaning and definition: A copay or copayment in health insurance is an arrangement wherein the policyholder pays a certain portion of the medical expenses. The insurer pays the remaining portion when settling the claim. For example, if you bought a health insurance policy of Rs. 2 lakh and have opted for 10% copay, the insurer will pay only Rs. 1.8 lakh. The remaining amount you will have to pay. Therefore, based on the co-payment amount opted, the insurer determines the health insurance premium.

Types of copay clauses in health insurance

Copay comes in two forms, voluntary or mandatory copay. In voluntary co-pay, the policyholder chooses to pay for a portion of the sum insured, while insurers put a mandatory co-pay clause for certain conditions.

Types of copayments

Conditions where copay applies

Copay for senior citizens

Insurers usually apply mandatory copay on health insurance policies for senior citizens, as medical expenses are higher.

Copay on reimbursement claims

Some health insurance companies apply a copay clause on reimbursement claims or if you avail for treatment at any non-network hospital.

Copay clause based on the location

Usually, health insurers implement the copay clause for metro cities, as the medical costs in such cities are usually higher than the smaller cities.

Copay for specific procedures

Copay for Specific Procedures applies to specific medical procedures, often considered short-term treatments. It's the insurer's discretion to set the co-pay percentage for these kinds of procedures explicitly. For example, an insurer may set a copay percentage of 25% for cataract surgeries.

How does a copay work?

By opting for a copay clause, you can reduce the premium on your health insurance policy. Generally, the copay percentage ranges between 10-30%. For example, if the copay amount is 20% and the medical bill is Rs. 10,000, the policyholder will have to pay Rs. 2,000, while the insurer will cover Rs. 8,000 of the expenses.

  • Copayment in health insurance is usually applicable for both cashless and reimbursement claims.
  • Policyholders must pay their share of the copayment before making a claim.
  • Cashless claim settlement benefits policyholders during emergency hospitalisations by eliminating the need for upfront payments.
  • Reimbursement claims settlements require policyholders to pay for medical expenses and then submit them for reimbursement.

Is copay compulsory?

Copay is not mandatory, but it is a common feature of most health insurance policies. Copay in insurance is a common practice used to share the cost of medical care between the insurance company and the policyholder. The copay amount may vary depending on the type of medical service and understanding the copay conditions mentioned in the policy agreement is essential while selecting a health insurance policy.

How does copay impact health premium?

As stated above, the policyholder and the insurance company copay for the medical services. Therefore, the copay amount opted will accordingly affect the health premium. Basically, higher copay means lower premiums for policyholders, while lower copay means higher premiums. Policyholders should consider factors such as their medical history, expenses, and the budget, while choosing the copay amount. It helps to manage healthcare expenses and ensures adequate coverage, making it a significant factor in selecting a health insurance policy.

Difference between copayment and deductibles

Here’s a quick look at the difference between copayment and deductibles.





Copay is a percentage or fixed amount that a policyholder must pay against the medical expenses, while the insurer will pay for the remaining amount during claim settlement.

A deductible is a fixed amount that policyholder must pay before the insurer starts paying for the medical expenses.

Impact on premium

Copay facility reduces the premium, so you pay lesser premium.

Deductibles also reduce the premium value.


Copay is applicable whenever you make claims.

Deductibles are one-time payment that policyholders pay before the policy coverage begins.

Things to consider before opting for health insurance with copay clause

Here are a few things to consider before opting for health insurance with a copay clause:

Copay percentage - The policyholder must choose a copay percentage that is feasible for them and does not impact the policy's overall cost-effectiveness.

Medical expenses - It is essential to evaluate the medical needs and expenses before opting for a policy to ensure that the copay does not significantly affect the policyholder's finances.

Premiums - Copay policies often have lower premiums, but it is essential to consider any additional expenses before choosing a plan.

Should I opt for a health insurance policy that allows copay?

Choosing a health insurance plan that allows copay depends on the policyholder's financial capacity and medical needs. Generally, copay helps in reducing the premium value. If you can afford to pay for the mediclaim policy, you may choose to opt for copay.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know my copayment amount at the time of claim settlement?

You will find your copayment amount on your health insurance policy document. You can also contact your insurer to clarify your co-payment amount.

Why do people choose copay in health insurance?

People choose copay in health insurance to lower their premiums. By agreeing to pay a certain percentage of medical bills, policyholders can reduce the insurer's financial risk and, in turn, receive lower premiums.

What is a copay? Explain with an example.

In health insurance, a copay is a cost-sharing provision where the policyholder agrees to pay a pre-decided percentage of the medical bill while the insurer covers the rest. For instance, if the co-pay amount is set at 10%, and the medical bill is Rs. 20,000, the policyholder will pay Rs. 2,000, and the insurer will pay Rs. 18,000.

Should I take a health insurance policy with copay?

The decision to choose a health insurance policy with copay depends on your financial situation and medical requirements. If you are looking to reduce your premiums and share the financial burden of medical expenses, then opting for a copay clause may help you. However, if you can afford to pay the medical expenses without assistance, you may opt for a policy without a copay clause.

Is copay levied on cashless hospitalisation?

Yes, in some health insurance policies, a copay clause is applicable on cashless hospitalisation. This means that a certain percentage of the total medical expenses needs to be borne by the policyholder themselves, while the remaining amount the insurance company will pay.

Why are policies with copay clause cheaper?

Policies with a copay clause are cheaper because when you agree to pay a certain percentage of the medical expenses, you are reducing the financial burden on the insurance company. This makes the policy cheaper for the policyholder. However, it is important to note that a policy with a co-pay clause may not be suitable for everyone, especially those who cannot afford to pay a percentage of the medical expenses out of their own pocket.

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