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Please note that the definitions included in this Glossary reflect the manner in which these terms are used on Medicare in general.

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A period of time spent receiving medical care in a hospital that aids the physician in determining whether to admit the patient as an inpatient or discharge them.
Physical therapy that aids in your capacity to regain control over daily tasks like eating, bathing and dressing oneself.
The recommended use of a medication for a purpose other than the condition that it has been approved for by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency to treat.
The agency that jointly works with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enforces multiple initiatives like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, as well as the Patient Safety Act and Rule, which together protect your fundamental rights to nondiscrimination and health information privacy.
Supervises the federal government's civil service agencies that service the general public and oversees the administration of the programs for their health insurance and retirement benefits.
A Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) appointed person who serves as an intermediary or advocate for the patient in addition to providing information on your Medicare rights and protections.
A designated time period every year between October 15 and December 7 where you can join, switch, or drop a plan. Your coverage will start on January 1st of the following year as long as the plan gets your request by December 7th.


This glossary explains terms in the Medicare program, but it isn't a legal document. The official Medicare program provisions are found in the relevant laws, regulations, and rulings.

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