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Glossary of Health Coverage and Medical Terms

The United States Office of Management and Budget

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Glossary of Health Coverage and Medical Terms
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Navigating the world of health insurance can be difficult, especially after a brain injury. These basic terms can help you get started.

This glossary has many commonly used terms, but isn't a full list. These glossary terms and definitions are intended to be educational and may be different from the terms and definitions in your plan. Some of these terms also minght not have exactly the same meaning when used in your policy or plan, and in any such case, the policy or plan governs.

Allowed Amount

Maximum amount on which payment is based for coered health care services. This may be called "eligible expense," "payment allowance," or "negotiated rate." If your provider charges more than the allowed amount, you may have to pay the difference. (See Balance Billing.)

Appeal

A request for your heal insurer or plan to review a decision or a grievance again.

Balance Billing

When a provider bills you for the difference between the provider's charge and the allowed amount. For example, if the provider's charge is $100 and the allowed amount is $70, the provider may bill you for the remaining $30. A preferred provider may not balance bill you for covered services.

Co-Insurance

Your share of the costs of a covered health care service, calculated as a percent (for example, 20%) of the allowed amount for the service. You pay co-insurance plus any deductibles you owe. For example, if the health insurance or plan's allowed amount for an office visit is $100 and you've met your deductible, your co-insurance payment of 20% would be $20. The health insurance or plan plays the rest of the allowed amount.

Complications of Pregnancy

Conditions due to pregnancy, labor, and delivery that require medical care to prevent serious harm to the health of the mother or the fetus. Morning sickness and a non-emergency caesarian section aren't complications of pregnancy.

Co-Payment

A fixed amount (for example, $15) you pay for a covered health care service, usually when you receive a service. The amount can vary by the type of covered health insurance.

Deductible

The amount you owe for health care services your health insurance or plan covers before your health insurance or plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $1000, your plan won't pay anything until you've met your $1000 deductible for covered health care services subject to the deductible. The deductible may not apply to all services.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

Equipment and supplies ordered by a health care provider for everyday or extended use. Coverage for DME may include: oxygen equipment, wheelchairs, crutches, or blood testing strips for diabetes.

Emergency Medical Condition

An illness, in jury, symptoms, or conditions so serious that a reasonable person would seek care right away to avoide severe harm.

Emergency Medical Transportation

Ambulance services you get in an emergency medical condition.

Emergency Room Care

Emergency services you get in an emergency room.

Emergency Services

Evaluation of an emergency medical condition and treatment to keep the condition from getting worse.

Excluded Services

Health care services that your health insurance or plan doesn't pay for or cover.

Grievance

A complaint that you communicate to your health insurer or plan.

Habilitation Services

Health care services that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living. Examples include therapy for a child who isn't walking or talking at the expected age. These services may include physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and other services for people with disabilities in a variety of inpatient and/or outpatient settings.

Health Insurance

A contract that requires your health insurer to pay some or all of your health care costs in exchange for a premium.

Home Health Care

Health care services a person receives at home.

Hospice Services

Services to provide comfort and support for persons in the last stages of a terminal illness and their families.

Hospitalization

Care in a hospital that requires admission as an inpatient and usually requires an overnight stay. An overnight stay for observation could be outpatient care.

Hospital Outpatient Care

Care in a hospital that usually doesn't require an overnight stay.

In-Network Co-Insurance

The percent (for example, 20%) you pay of the allowed amount for covered health care services to providers who contract with your health insurance or plan. In-network co-insurance usually costs you less than out-of-network co-insurance.

In-Network Co-Payment

A fixed amount (for example, 15%) you pay for covered health care services to providers who contract with your health insurance or plan. In-network co-payments usually are less than out-of-network co-payments.

Medically Necessary

Health care services or supplies needed to prevent, diagnose, or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease or its symptoms and that meet accepted standards of medicine.

Network

The facilities, providers, and suppliers of health insurer or plan has contracted with to provide health care services.

Non-Preferred Provider

A provider who doesn't have a contract with your health insurer or plan to provide services to you. You'll play more to see a non-preferred provider. Check your policy to see if you can go to all providers who have contracted with your health insurance or plan, or if your health insurance or plan has a "tiered" network and you must pay extra to see some providers.

Out-of-Network Co-Insurance

The percent (for example, 40%) you pay for the allowed amount for covered health care servcies to providers who do not contract with your health insurance or plan. Out-of-network co-insurance usually costs you more than in-network co-insurance.

Out-of-Network Co-Payment

A fixed amount (for example, $30) you pay for covered health care servcies from providers who do not contract with your health insurance or plan. Out-of-network co-payments usually are more than in-network co-payments.

From the United States Office of Management and Budge. www.whitehouse.gov/omb.

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