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What is a health insurance co-payment?

Let's review what the benefits of co-payment are and when we can enjoy them. What is a health insurance co-payment.

At first glance, the concept of "co-payment" may sound like an inconvenience or extra expense that we should avoid. But more and more health insurance customers are opting for a policy with a co-payment because, in reality, it can lead to significant savings on the final bill for the health services we need during the year. How is this possible?

The co-payment is nothing more than the payment of a small amount of money each time we use the services of our health insurance and depends on the type of "visit" to the doctor. Those that are more complicated or require the use of more resources from the clinic or hospital will be more expensive. Therefore, we would have to add the possible co-payment costs to the cost of our premium.

In return for this extra cost, health insurers with co-payments offer cheaper rates than those without. This means that although the co-payment may be an extra cost at certain times when we need the services of our health insurance, it can pay off economically in the long run as we can expect a cheaper premium. But let's see what makes it interesting or not to take out insurance with these features.

When does health insurance with a co-payment make sense for you?

The co-payment is only activated when we go to the doctor, so customers who make little use of their health insurance are in principle the most suitable user profile to benefit from the co-payment.

Moreover, if doctor visits are minimal and part of the "routine", the cost of the co-payment is usually very low and more than makes up for the monthly or annual payment of a cheaper health premium than one that does not include a co-payment.

So when taking out health insurance, we should weigh up how much we will use the services offered and whether it is worth paying a higher premium to "keep us healthy" or whether we want to reduce the cost of our insurance and realise that we will only go to the doctor when it is really necessary.

Of course, the fact that an insurance plan has a co-payment does not affect the portfolio of services we have access to, it just changes the cost of accessing them.

The disadvantage of the co-payment

Our health is something we can control to a certain extent. But no one can guarantee that, no matter how healthy we've been, there won't come a time when we need to visit our health insurer more regularly.

And if we have a co-payment, these constant visits can end up increasing the cost of the premium and "eating up" the savings we had made by accessing cheaper health insurance.

When choosing health insurance, we need to be very clear about what we need from it and try to calculate whether or not it is worth opting for the excess. The insurances with the cheapest premiums are also the ones with the highest excess costs and vice versa. So the portfolio of services we choose is as important as the costs associated with using them.

Editorial SG - 23 March 2021


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