primary payer

Primary payer refers to an insurance policy that pays first when a person is covered by more than one insurance plan (usually associated with health insurance).

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Each health insurance policy or plan is called a "payer." When there is more than one payer, there are "coordination of benefits" rules that dictate which one pays first. The primary payer pays what it owes on an individual's bills first and then sends the rest to the "secondary payer" to pay. In some cases, there may also be a third payer.