The Language of Insurance

Health insurance literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to process, understand the rules surrounding insurance plans and utilize that knowledge to access their basic health services. Understandably, your ability to understand the larger processes that govern your healthcare plan is the ability to understand the words used when communicating with your plan, providers and pharmacists.

Words That Matter

A Patient’s Healthcare Glossary

Illustrated in recent survey data, Patient Advocate Foundation has documented that for some of the most commonly used terms surrounding healthcare and health insurance, as little as 59% of patients felt that they were confident in the meaning of the words.

Critical vocabulary used during enrollment and the usage of health insurance, including deductible, co-payment, network, covered services and excluded services are too frequently confused by patients. In addition, our survey data has shown a distinct correlation between the understanding of these words and the ease of enrollment process and also a patient’s ultimate satisfaction of the plan they selected.

Healthcare policies, laws and trends are discussed practically everyday in the news and even at the watercooler. This list of words provides terms that can impact your healthcare and the healthcare of everyone around you.

Plain Language Glossary for Terms Used by Your Plan

To reduce this confusion and help patients better understand the jargon they will likely encounter in healthcare, the below glossary is a resource to help patients understand these words with plain language definitions.

Plan Terms

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are currently 38 names in this directory

Please select a letter from the index (above) to see entries



This “Words that Matter” glossary and “Chatter that Matters” materials are part of a branded project supported by Patient Advocate Foundation and the Patient Action Council. Survey data referenced above was analyzed within with the “Health Insurance Marketplace Experience Survey” project which collected responses from a random sample of healthcare consumers from November 2014 to January 2015.