Medicare:

Medicare Glossary

Assignment
An agreement by your doctor, other health care provider, or supplier to be paid directly by Medicare, to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for the service, and not to bill you for any more than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance.
Benefit Period
The way that Original Medicare measures your use of hospital and skilled nursing facility (SNF) services. A benefit period begins the day you are admitted as an inpatient in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when you haven’t received any inpatient hospital care (or skilled care in a SNF) for 60 days in a row. If you go into a hospital or a skilled nursing facility after one benefit period has ended, a new benefit period begins. You must pay the inpatient hospital deductible for each benefit period. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods.
Coinsurance
An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for services after you pay any deductibles. Coinsurance is usually a percentage (for example, 20%).
Copayment
An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doctor’s visit, hospital outpatient visit, or prescription. A copayment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage. For example, you might pay $10 or $20 for a doctor’s visit or prescription.
Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage
Prescription drug coverage (for example, from an employer or union) that’s expected to pay, on average, at least as much as Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage. People who have this kind of coverage when they become eligible for Medicare can generally keep that coverage without paying a penalty, if they decide to enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage later.
Critical Access Hospital
A small facility that provides outpatient services, as well as inpatient services on a limited basis, to people in rural areas..
Custodial Care
Nonskilled personal care, such as help with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, eating, getting in or out of a bed or chair, moving around, and using the bathroom. It may also include the kind of health-related care that most people do themselves, like using eye drops. In most cases, Medicare doesn’t pay for custodial care.
Deductible
The amount you must pay for health care or prescriptions before Original Medicare, your prescription drug plan, or your other insurance begins to pay.
Extra Help
A Medicare program to help people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug program costs, such as premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.
Formulary
A list of prescription drugs covered by a prescription drug plan or another insurance plan offering prescription drug benefits
Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility
A hospital, or part of a hospital, that provides an intensive rehabilitation program to inpatients.
Institution
For the purposes of this publication, an institution is a facility that provides short term or long term care, such as a nursing home, skilled nursing facility (SNF), or rehabilitation hospital. Private residences, such as an assisted living facility or group home, aren’t considered institutions for this purpose.
Lifetime Reserve Days
In Original Medicare, these are additional days that Medicare will pay for when you’re in a hospital for more than 90 days. You have a total of 60 reserve days that can be used during your lifetime. For each lifetime reserve day, Medicare pays all covered costs except for a daily coinsurance.
Long‑Term Care
A variety of services that help people with their medical and non-medical needs over a period of time. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, or in various other types of facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most long-term care is custodial care. Medicare doesn’t pay for this type of care if this is the only kind of care you need.
Long‑Term Care Hospital
Acute care hospitals that provide treatment for patients who stay, on average, more than 25 days. Most patients are transferred from an intensive or critical care unit. Services provided include comprehensive rehabilitation, respiratory therapy, head trauma treatment, and pain management.
Medically Necessary
Services or supplies that are needed for the diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition and meet accepted standards of medical practice.
Medicare‑Approved Amount
In Original Medicare, this is the amount a doctor or supplier that accepts assignment can be paid. It may be less than the actual amount a doctor or supplier charges. Medicare pays part of this amount and you’re responsible for the difference
Medicare Health Plan
A plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits to people with Medicare who enroll in the plan. Medicare Health Plans include all Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Cost Plans, Demonstration/Pilot Programs, and Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
Medicare Plan
Refers to any way other than Original Medicare that you can get your Medicare health or prescription drug coverage. This term includes all Medicare health plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
Premium
The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company, or a health care plan for health or prescription drug coverage.
Preventive Services
Health care to prevent illness or detect illness at an early stage, when treatment is likely to work best (for example, preventive services include Pap tests, flu shots, and screening mammograms).
Primary Care Doctor
Your primary care doctor is the doctor you see first for most health problems. He or she makes sure you get the care you need to keep you healthy. He or she also may talk with other doctors and health care providers about your care and refer you to them. In many Medicare Advantage Plans, you must see your primary care doctor before you see any other health care provider.
Quality Improvement Organization (QIO)
A group of practicing doctors and other health care experts paid by the Federal government to check and improve the care given to people with Medicare.
Referral
A written order from your primary care doctor for you to see a specialist or to get certain medical services. In many Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), you need to get a referral before you can get medical care from anyone except your primary care doctor. If you don’t get a referral first, the plan may not pay for the services
Service Area
A geographic area where a health insurance plan accepts members if it limits membership based on where people live. For plans that limit which doctors and hospitals you may use, it’s also generally the area where you can get routine (non-emergency) services. The plan may disenroll you if you move out of the plan’s service area.
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Care
Skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services provided on a continuous, daily basis, in a skilled nursing facility. Examples of skilled nursing facility care include physical therapy or intravenous injections that can only be given by a registered nurse or doctor.

Source: CMS publication #10050, Medicare & You , available online at:http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf