Healthcare Glossary

Point of Service (POS)

A plan where you pay less if you use providers and hospitals that belong to the plan's network. You may be required to choose a primary care physician, who will make referrals to network specialists. You may receive care from non-network providers, but with higher out-of-pocket costs.

Pre-Existing Condition

A health problem, like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, a person has before the date their health insurance starts.


A term used by health plans to convey that before seeking certain health care services, patients must seek prior approval or permission. Services such as home health care and non-urgent surgeries often require preauthorization.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

A plan where you have the option of receiving care from doctors, hospitals and specialists in the network or outside the network, and you don't always need a referral to see a specialist. However, you pay less if you use providers in the plan's network.


The amount you pay every month for health insurance.

Premium Tax Credits

A refundable tax credit designed to help eligible individuals or families with low or moderate income afford health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The amount of the premium tax credit is based on a sliding scale.

Prescription Drug Coverage

Health insurance that helps pay for prescription drugs.

Preventive Service

Most health insurance plans must cover at no cost to the consumer certain preventive services, such as flu shots and pap smears, as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Prior Authorization

Approval from a health insurer for coverage of a prescription or service.