English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm developing a web application that will be used by medical clinics. Clients get an invoice for the treatment(s) they got. However, sometimes a part of the costs will be paid by a third party, like a coupon company (if the client has bought a coupon for a treatment) or a health insurance company. How should I call these companies?

Clients are called 'clients' in the system. I've thought about calling the companies 'debtors', but clients can be debtors as well. Does someone know a word that would fit this meaning?

share|improve this question

closed as too localized by FumbleFingers, TimLymington, Lunivore, tchrist, Mitch Nov 12 '12 at 3:08

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think this is Too Localised. You say yourself that "clients can be debtors as well". So it wouldn't make any difference what word you choose instead of "debtors" - you're still asking for a word that means "other people who have to pay, who are not actually the primary customer". I just don't think there's a single word for that concept. – FumbleFingers Nov 11 '12 at 21:49


In the health insurance racket, co-pay usually means the piece of the action covered by the patient, with the balance covered by the insuror; but since your system is treating the patient as the primary payor, a third party would be the co-payor.

share|improve this answer
That's a good one. It describes the action (paying a part of the total) and doesn't add other meaning that might be wrong for the situation. I'll think about this one! – Jonathan Nov 11 '12 at 22:30
@Jonathan As I indicated, co-pay has a conventional meaning in US healthcare which you may have to take into consideration. – StoneyB Nov 11 '12 at 22:42
Thanks for mentioning, I didn't realize that. – Jonathan Nov 11 '12 at 23:08

Someone who covers a cost on behalf of another person or lends financial support to another person can be called a patron, sponsor, or benefactor. However, all of these words have other connotations that may not be appropriate for your specific use, especially in the case of an insurance company covering the patient's cost. For example, a patron could refer to the client that is receiving the service (like a patron at a restaurant), and a benefactor is often used to describe someone who is supporting a good cause or making a charitable donation. Sorry if this does not fulfill your request - maybe you could just call them the payer or the responsible party?

share|improve this answer
Thanks for your answer. The words you found could be used, but as you already mentioned they have other meanings that might not fit. The problem with calling them 'payer' is that they don't pay the full sum (it varies), so that'd be an incorrect (and confusing) term. – Jonathan Nov 11 '12 at 22:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.