Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009

Health Care Glossary

Fee for Service
What it Means: We pay for medical services individually — each time we see a doctor and for every test or procedure he orders.
What You Need to Know: By providing more services, doctors and hospitals can charge more, which drives up health-care costs. The aè la carte structure also makes it hard to keep track of the total bill.

Cadillac Plan
What it Means: A high-end plan, often paid for by an employer, that covers most medical needs at little cost to the patient.
What You Need to Know: Because consumers don't directly pay for services, they tend to overuse them. Congress is considering taxing these plans to generate revenue.

Public Plan
What it Means: A government-run health plan that would compete with private ones on cost.
What You Need to Know: A public plan could leverage its volume into lower costs and premiums, but critics claim it could put private insurers out of business.

Rationed Care
What it Means: The claim that in a public plan bureaucrats will decide the quantity and quality of the care you receive.
What You Need to Know: It's the bogeyman that those opposed to major reform like to conjure up, but none of the reform proposals anticipates such a consequence.