Health Glossary


  • Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC)

    The Account Care Collaborative is a new Medicaid program to improve clients’ health and reduce costs. Medicaid clients in the Accountable Care Collaborative will receive the regular Medicaid benefit package, and will also belong to a Regional Care Collaborative Organization (RCCO).

  • Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC)

    The Affordable Care Act provides a new tax credit to help you afford health coverage purchased through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace. Advance payments of the tax credit can be used right away to lower your monthly premium costs. If you qualify, you may choose how much advance credit payments to apply to your premiums each month, up to a maximum amount. If the amount of advance credit payments you get for the year is less than the tax credit you’re due, you’ll get the difference as a refundable credit when you file your federal income tax return. If your advance payments for the year are more than the amount of your credit, you must repay the excess advance payments with your tax return.

  • Affordable Care Act

    You may have heard of the Affordable Care Act — sometimes called Obamacare — a 2010 federal law intended to increase the value spent on health care, create a culture supporting healthy living and wellness and expand access to care. The law accomplishes this through health insurance mandates as well as financial assistance and tax credits for individuals and businesses to purchase insurance through the marketplace. Many of the law’s changes, including the requirement to have health insurance, took effect in January 2014.

    Colorado passed its own set of health care reform laws that established a state-based marketplace called Connect for Health Colorado. Other laws passed in Colorado expanded Medicaid coverage to more low income Coloradans and aligned state health insurance regulations with new federal laws.

  • Benefits

    The health care items or services covered under a health insurance plan. Covered benefits and excluded services are defined in the health insurance plan’s coverage documents. In Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus, covered benefits and excluded services are defined in state program rules.

  • Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)

    Insurance program jointly funded by state and federal government. Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) is low cost health and dental insurance for Colorado’s uninsured children and pregnant women. CHP+ is public health insurance for children and pregnant women who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health insurance. Colorado’s Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program is administered by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

  • 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 pays the rest of the allowed amount.

  • Co-Payment

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

  • Cost Sharing

    Cost-sharing: The share of costs covered by your insurance that you pay out of your own pocket. This term generally includes deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments, or similar charges, but it doesn’t include premiums, balance billing amounts for non-network providers, or the cost of non-covered services.

    Cost-sharing in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) can include premiums, co-payments and enrollment fees. Some individuals who qualify for Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus may be exempt from cost-sharing. For more information about Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus contact the Medicaid Customer Contact Center at 1-800-221-3943 (TDD: 1-800-659-2656).

  • 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.

  • Federal Poverty Level

    A measure of income level issued annually by the Department of Health and Human Services. Federal poverty levels are used to determine your eligibility for certain programs and benefits.

  • Grandfathered Plans

    Employer insurance plans that were in place on March 23, 2010 are referred to as “grandfathered plans.” These plans are subject to some of the new rules resulting from the health reform law, but exempt from others. In order to maintain its grandfathered status, an insurance plan cannot reduce or eliminate benefits to treat particular conditions, increase employee cost-sharing (such as deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments) above certain thresholds, reduce the employer share of the premium cost, or change insurers. Once a plan loses its grandfathered status, it will have to comply with all the new rules.

    Get more information on Grandfathered Plans at HealthCare.gov.

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

    A type of health insurance plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. It generally won’t cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. An HMO may require you to live or work in its service area to be eligible for coverage. HMOs often provide integrated care and focus on prevention and wellness.

  • HIPAA Privacy Laws

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a 1996 federal law designed to protect sensitive health care information and reduce the administrative burden of health care for health care providers.

  • Medicaid

    Colorado Medicaid is public health insurance for families, children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with disabilities and some adults without children. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing offers an overview of benefits included as part of Medicaid coverage.

    To see if you qualify and to apply for coverage online go to colorado.gov/PEAK.

  • Medicaid Estate Recovery

    Medicaid Estate Recovery is a program required by federal law to help pay for the costs of the Medicaid program. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing recovers medical assistance payments from the estates of former Medicaid clients who were either age 55 or over or clients who received services in an institutionalized setting. For more information about Medicaid estate recoveries click here or contact your local county human services office.

  • Medicare

    A Federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older and certain younger people with disabilities. Go to Medicare.gov for more information.

  • Open Enrollment

    You can apply for financial assistance to help you buy insurance through Connect for Health Colorado.

    The next open enrollment period will begin November 15, 2014 and end February 15, 2015. For more information about the Connect for Health Colorado open enrollment period visit ConnectforHealthCO.com or contact Connect for Health Colorado at 1-855-752-6749 / TDD 1-855-346-3432.

    Outside of open enrollment, you can still shop for insurance if you have a qualifying life event.

    Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) do not have open enrollment periods. You can apply at any time. Get more information about how to apply.

  • Out-of-Pocket Costs

    Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance. Out-of-pocket costs include deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments for covered services plus all costs for services that aren’t covered.

  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum/Limit

    The most you pay during a policy period (usually a year) before your health insurance or plan begins to pay 100% of the allowed amount. For private insurance this limit never includes your premiums or health care the plan doesn’t cover. Some health insurance plans don’t count your co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance payments, out-of-network payments, or other expenses toward this limit. In Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus, the limit does include any premiums.

  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

    A type of health plan that contracts with medical providers, such as hospitals and doctors, to create a network of participating providers. You pay less if you use providers that belong to the plan’s network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network for an additional cost.

  • Premium

    The amount that must be paid for your health insurance or plan. You or your employer usually pay it monthly, quarterly or yearly.

  • Primary Care Provider or Primary Care Physician (PCP)

    A physician (M.D. – Medical Doctor or D.O. – Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or physician assistant, as allowed under state law, who provides, coordinates or helps a patient access a range of health care services.

  • Prior Authorization Request

    Some Medicaid services and benefits require a health care provider to complete a form or make a phone call that gives permission to get extra services and supplies if you have a special health care need. If you have questions about prior authorizations please contact your health care provider or the Medicaid Customer Contact Center at 1-800-221-3943 / TDD 1-800-659-2656. Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. (closed state holidays).

  • Qualifying Life Event

    A change in your life that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in health coverage. Examples of qualifying life events are moving to a new state, changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce or have a baby).

    Get more information from Connect for Health Colorado or contact Connect for Health Colorado at 1-855-752-6749 / TDD 1-855-346-3432.

    You can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Plan Plus (CHP+) any time and you can enroll right away if you qualify.

  • Real Time Eligibility Determination

    When a PEAK online application for Medical Assistance receives immediate approval or denial. Click here for more information.

  • Referral

    A written order from your primary care doctor for you to see a specialist or 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. Referrals are not required for Medicaid clients enrolled in the Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC).

    Check with your health insurance plan to see what requires a referral.

  • Regional Care Collaborative Organization (RCCO)

    Regional Care Collaborative Organizations are a part of the Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC). A Regional Care Coordination Organization connects Medicaid clients to providers and also helps clients find community and social services in their area.  The Regional Care Coordination Organization helps providers communicate with Medicaid clients and with each other, so Medicaid clients receive coordinated care.  A Regional Care Coordination Organization will also help Medicaid clients get the right care when they are returning home from the hospital or a nursing facility by providing the support needed for a quick recovery.  Regional Care Coordination Organizations help with other care transitions, too, like moving from children’s health services to adult health services, or moving from a hospital to nursing care. Medicaid clients are assigned to Regional Care Coordination Organization based on where they live. The Medicaid Regional Care Coordination Organizations include:

    For more information about the Medicaid Regional Care Collaborative Organizations click here.

  • Rescission

    The retroactive cancellation of a health insurance policy. Insurance companies will sometimes retroactively cancel your entire policy if you made a mistake on your initial application when you buy an individual market insurance policy. Under the Affordable Care Act, rescission is illegal except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact as prohibited by the terms of the plan or coverage.

  • State of Health

    Colorado’s commitment to become the healthiest state:

    Visit www.colorado.gov/stateofhealth

  • TRICARE

    A health care program for active-duty and retired uniformed services members and their families. Click here for more information.

  • Veterans Administration (VA) Health Care

    A health care program for Veterans who qualify. Click here for more information.