Copay Meanings

Copay is a concept used in private medicine to define the difference between the price of a service and its value covered by a health plan. It is, therefore, the amount that the member has to pay to access said service.

For example: “Home care requires a copayment of 10 euros per visit”, “The treatment you need is covered by social work, but requires a copayment”, “I do not understand why I have to pay a copayment if I pay all the months the corresponding quota “.

In Spain, the healthcare copayment has become a subject of controversy in recent years. And it is that, as a result of the deep economic crisis that the country has been suffering for some time, the Government has proceeded to establish the aforementioned co-payment in various aspects. A decision that has raised the complaints of the population since this had never ever happened.

Like Education, it is considered in the country that Health is free because the Spanish religiously pay an amount of their salaries and taxes to make it so. Hence, the new measures that the central government or those of some autonomies are trying to impose in this regard have been openly rejected.

According to, there are many autonomous communities that have spoken out against both this health copayment and the so-called pharmaceutical copayment that was promoted a few years ago. This last system consists of citizens having to pay an amount for each drug prescribed by the doctor.

This measure has also raised complaints against it since the most affected by the measure are the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. These are men and women who have a damaged state of health, who need to be treated with a large number of medications that they cannot afford with the co-payment, since they usually have very low pensions and even low income. Pharmaceutical co-payment was imposed in some communities, but the judicial authorities have rejected it.

The copay arises from the dynamics of the health industry itself. It is understood that the beneficiary (that is, the user, consumer or client) does not pay for each service since they have coverage provided by a social security or a prepaid medicine company, which, in turn, buys the service but does not consumes, since it is intended for the beneficiary. This generates a distortion in the contracting of care services, which leads companies to promote co-financing of the service by the affiliate each time he needs to use it.

In this way, the copayment is a type of financing of health services that allows the cost of the same to be assumed by the prepaid medicine company or social work and by the beneficiary. In practice, therefore, the copayment appears as an additional payment that the beneficiary must make to use the service, beyond the contributions made as a monthly fee.