You Could Look It Up

Q. With respect to insurance claims, which is the preferred usage, “payer” or “payor”? They appear to each be legitimate. Merriam-Webster refers to “payor” as a variant of “payer,” but usage of “payor” is commonplace within the industry as well. Any definitive help is appreciated.

A. Although it’s flattering to think that you might take our word over that of Merriam-Webster, we in fact defer to that authority. Since “payer” and “payor” are variants in M-W, that’s good enough for us. (But we usually go for the first-listed variant; furthermore, in this case, “payor” is listed as the less common of the two.)