fee-for-service system

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A payment method used in many nations, especially for general or family medical practice and in other personal health services, such as dentistry, in which patients (or their medical insurance carriers) pay a designated fee for each item of service that they receive from their physician. Fee-for-service payment systems have the advantage of personalizing health care, but the disadvantage that the fee may be a deterrent that inhibits people who need care from obtaining it in a timely manner. In low-income nations and nations with inadequate provision for comprehensive medical insurance coverage, out-of-pocket fee-for-service expenses exacerbate poverty. See also capitation, which is a contrasting payment system.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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