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Medicare terms

Learn more about Medicare. Start with these definitions.

D

deductible

A deductible is an established out-of-pocket payment a Medicare enrollee must pay before his or her insurance begins taking over payment of the particular health care expense.

denial of coverage

Denial of coverage refers to a situation in which Medicare refuses to pay for certain medical services.

detailed explanation of non-coverage (DENC)

When a provider – a home health agency, or skilled nursing facility, or other agency – determines you are no longer eligible for Medicare services, you will receive a detailed explanation of non-coverage.

detailed notice of discharge

A detailed notice of discharge provide a full explanation of the reasons for your hospital discharge and/or why services you are receiving are no longer covered by Medicare.

determination

Determination refers to a decision by Medicare to deny your claim, pay part of your claim or pay it in full.

disabled enrollee

A disabled enrollee is a person under 65 who qualifies for Medicare because of a disability, or is receiving benefits through Social Security or the Railroad Retirement system.

disenrollment

The process of discontinuing Medicare coverage.

donut hole

Medicare’s “donut hole” refers to the coverage gap in your Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit – the point where your prescription drug expenses exceed the initial coverage limit of your plan, but have not yet reached the catastrophic coverage level. When you reach this “donut hole,” you stop making a 25 percent copayment and begin paying more of your costs.  In 2015, you enter the donut hole when your out-of-pocket expenses reach $2,960, and you reach the catastrophic coverage level (ie, get out of the donut hole) after you have paid $4,700 out of pocket, including your $320 deductible, copays, and the manufacturer discount that you receive while in the donut hole.  At that point, your plan pays most of your prescription drug expenses through the end of the year.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included a provision to close the donut hole by 2020.  In 2015, while in the donut hole, enrollees pay 45 percent of the cost of brand name drugs and 65 percent of the cost of generic drugs.  By 2020, there will be no donut hole – enrollees will pay 25 percent of all drug costs until they reach the catastrophic coverage level.

dual eligible

A person who is eligible for both Original Medicare and Medicaid is determined to be dual eligible.

durable medical equipment

Durable medical equipment is a class of Medicare-approved equipment authorized by an enrollee’s physician. Examples include wheelchairs, hospital beds, and oxygen equipment .

durable power of attorney

Durable power of attorney refers to your formal designation of a person to advocate on your behalf and make decisions about your personal affairs in the event you become unable to make decisions yourself.