Definition of capitation in US English:



  • The payment of a fee or grant to a doctor, school, or other person or body providing services to a number of people, such that the amount paid is determined by the number of patients, students, or customers.

    as modifier ‘income capitation fees’
    ‘the increased capitation enabled schools to offer students an enhanced curriculum’
    • ‘An increase in capitation grants to schools of only €50 per pupil would meet the annual insurance costs.’
    • ‘Consequently, budgets based on capitation formulas may discourage doctors from taking on patients with complex health needs who would be expected to make high use of healthcare services.’
    • ‘Fee-paying schools do not receive capitation and related supports - unless they are Protestant schools.’
    • ‘There was no addressing of the real costs involved through the extension of staff grants for example, or through capitation grants for the under twos.’
    • ‘For example, with University College Cork, undergraduates pay a €750 registration fee and €65 capitation fee.’
    • ‘In Britain the problems associated with capitation grants were recognised in the early 1920s and were subsequently abolished and replaced with a block grant.’
    • ‘The department's capitation grant to each of the State's 3,200 primary schools is based on the number of pupils, with €133.58 given to school boards for every child enrolled.’
    • ‘Incentives may be aimed directly at individual doctors such as capitation payments, caps on fee-for-service income, and target payments for screening set proportions of a population.’
    • ‘There's the 20 per cent tax credit for the childcare expenses of parents, and a promise to fund childcare and pre-schooling through a €1,200 capitation grant.’
    • ‘Students will need to have been working in summer jobs that pay 10 per hour to pay the costs of going to college plus the increase in capitation fees.’
    • ‘These policies usually mandate low levels of capitation on the total amount that can be allocated for these services.’
    • ‘Healthcare organisations in the United States have used financial incentives, such as ‘specialty withholds’ and capitation payments, to reduce referrals to specialists by gatekeepers.’
    • ‘The Government should prescribe uniform guidelines to all the colleges regarding the minimum required infrastructure, along with maximum capitation fee and other fees.’
    • ‘The state would pay the salaries of teachers, capitation fees for every student and fund the construction of schools.’
    • ‘The front page had a story about a large group of physicians threatening to drop out of the largest health plan because of a proposed change in payment from fee for service to capitation.’
    • ‘Oregon also increased capitation payments to encourage primary care providers to screen their patients for substance abuse disorders.’
    • ‘The school received a lot of their money through capitation grants from the Department of Education.’
    • ‘By combining several regional groups of physicians, they were able to negotiate capitation payments for large patient populations.’
    • ‘Furthermore, because these patients are not registered, capitation payments to primary care trusts may be reduced leading to a loss of health care for local people.’
    • ‘This will be a special grant over and above capitation and other supports.’


Early 17th century (denoting the counting of heads): from late Latin capitatio ‘poll tax’, from caput ‘head’.