Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: An Act prohibiting a health plan from establishing lifetime limits or annual limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary after January 1, 2014. It permits a restricted annual limit for plan years beginning prior to January 1, 2014. It provides that a health plan shall not be prevented from placing annual or lifetime per-beneficiary limits on covered benefits. The Act sets up a competitive health insurance market.Health Insurance Exchanges: State-provided health insurance marketplaces established under the PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.Health Care Reform: Innovation and improvement of the health care system by reappraisal, amendment of services, and removal of faults and abuses in providing and distributing health services to patients. It includes a re-alignment of health services and health insurance to maximum demographic elements (the unemployed, indigent, uninsured, elderly, inner cities, rural areas) with reference to coverage, hospitalization, pricing and cost containment, insurers' and employers' costs, pre-existing medical conditions, prescribed drugs, equipment, and services.Insurance Benefits: Payments or services provided under stated circumstances under the terms of an insurance policy. In prepayment programs, benefits are the services the programs will provide at defined locations and to the extent needed.Insurance, Health: Insurance providing coverage of medical, surgical, or hospital care in general or for which there is no specific heading.Small Business: For-profit enterprise with relatively few to moderate number of employees and low to moderate volume of sales.Insurance Coverage: Generally refers to the amount of protection available and the kind of loss which would be paid for under an insurance contract with an insurer. (Slee & Slee, Health Care Terms, 2d ed)State Government: The level of governmental organization and function below that of the national or country-wide government.Federal Government: The level of governmental organization and function at the national or country-wide level.Eligibility Determination: Criteria to determine eligibility of patients for medical care programs and services.United StatesAccountable Care Organizations: Organizations of health care providers that agree to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the traditional fee-for-service program who are assigned to it. Assigned means those beneficiaries for whom the professionals in the organization provide the bulk of primary care services. (www.cms.gov/OfficeofLegislation/Downloads/Accountable CareOrganization.pdf accessed 03/16/2011)Health Benefit Plans, Employee: Health insurance plans for employees, and generally including their dependents, usually on a cost-sharing basis with the employer paying a percentage of the premium.Reimbursement Mechanisms: Processes or methods of reimbursement for services rendered or equipment.Risk Sharing, Financial: Any system which allows payors to share some of the financial risk associated with a particular patient population with providers. Providers agree to adhere to fixed fee schedules in exchange for an increase in their payor base and a chance to benefit from cost containment measures. Common risk-sharing methods are prospective payment schedules (PROSPECTIVE PAYMENT SYSTEM), capitation (CAPITATION FEES), diagnosis-related fees (DIAGNOSIS-RELATED GROUPS), and pre-negotiated fees.Insurance Carriers: Organizations which assume the financial responsibility for the risks of policyholders.Cost Sharing: Provisions of an insurance policy that require the insured to pay some portion of covered expenses. Several forms of sharing are in use, e.g., deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Cost sharing does not refer to or include amounts paid in premiums for the coverage. (From Dictionary of Health Services Management, 2d ed)Employee Retirement Income Security Act: A 1974 Federal act which preempts states' rights with regard to workers' pension benefits and employee benefits. It does not affect the benefits and rights of employees whose employer is self-insured. (From Slee & Slee, Health Care Reform Terms, 1993)Insurance Pools: An organization of insurers or reinsurers through which particular types of risk are shared or pooled. The risk of high loss by a particular insurance company is transferred to the group as a whole (the insurance pool) with premiums, losses, and expenses shared in agreed amounts.Fraud: Exploitation through misrepresentation of the facts or concealment of the purposes of the exploiter.Health Care Sector: Economic sector concerned with the provision, distribution, and consumption of health care services and related products.Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: Public Law 104-91 enacted in 1996, was designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system, protect health insurance coverage for workers and their families, and to protect individual personal health information.Medicaid: Federal program, created by Public Law 89-97, Title XIX, a 1965 amendment to the Social Security Act, administered by the states, that provides health care benefits to indigent and medically indigent persons.Legislation, Hospital: Laws and regulations concerning hospitals, which are proposed for enactment or enacted by a legislative body.Insurance, Health, Reimbursement: Payment by a third-party payer in a sum equal to the amount expended by a health care provider or facility for health services rendered to an insured or program beneficiary. (From Facts on File Dictionary of Health Care Management, 1988)Comparative Effectiveness Research: Conduct and synthesis of systematic research comparing interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor health conditions. The purpose of this research is to inform patients, providers, and decision-makers, responding to their expressed needs, about which interventions are most effective for which patients under specific circumstances. (hhs.gov/recovery/programs/cer/draftdefinition.html accessed 6/12/2009)Medicare: Federal program, created by Public Law 89-97, Title XVIII-Health Insurance for the Aged, a 1965 amendment to the Social Security Act, that provides health insurance benefits to persons over the age of 65 and others eligible for Social Security benefits. It consists of two separate but coordinated programs: hospital insurance (MEDICARE PART A) and supplementary medical insurance (MEDICARE PART B). (Hospital Administration Terminology, AHA, 2d ed and A Discursive Dictionary of Health Care, US House of Representatives, 1976)Medically Uninsured: Individuals or groups with no or inadequate health insurance coverage. Those falling into this category usually comprise three primary groups: the medically indigent (MEDICAL INDIGENCY); those whose clinical condition makes them medically uninsurable; and the working uninsured.Economics, Hospital: Economic aspects related to the management and operation of a hospital.Prospective Payment System: A system wherein reimbursement rates are set, for a given period of time, prior to the circumstances giving rise to actual reimbursement claims.Preventive Health Services: Services designed for HEALTH PROMOTION and prevention of disease.Health Services Accessibility: The degree to which individuals are inhibited or facilitated in their ability to gain entry to and to receive care and services from the health care system. Factors influencing this ability include geographic, architectural, transportational, and financial considerations, among others.