Glossary of Health Coverage and Medical Terms – Part 1

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 might not have exactly the same meaning when used in your policy or plan, and in any such case, the policy or plan governs. (See your Summary of Benefits and Coverage for information on how to get a copy of your policy or plan document.)

Allowed Amount – Maximum amount on which payment is based for covered 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 health insurer or planto 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, 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 he 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 pays 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 Cesarean 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 the service. The amount can vary by the type of covered health care service.

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 $1,000, your plan won’t pay anything until you’ve met your $1,000 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 diabetics.

Emergency Medical Condition – An illness, injury, symptom or condition so serious that a reasonable person would seek care right away to avoid severe harm.

Emergency Medical Transportation – Ambulance services for an emergency medical condition.

Emergency Room CareEmergency services you get in an emergency room.

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

more to follow….