Health Insurance Terms

To help you better understand your health insurance benefits, below are some key insurance notes and terms.


Open Enrollment: Open enrollment for student insurance at Meharry Medical College is the one time each year when you can enroll or waive the student insurance benefits and/or add dependents.

If you fail to waiver or enroll, you will be automatically enrolled in the student group insurance plan.


Qualifying Life Event: A qualifying life event is an event deemed acceptable by the insurance providers that may allow participants to change their plan benefits outside of the stated open enrollment period. These may include marriage, divorce, birth, death, loss of a job and/or other examples that result in a sudden loss of coverage.


There is a 30 day grace period to notify the Office of Student Life of the change so that we can assist you with getting the changes in place.


Explanation of Benefits (EOB): A statement sent by a health insurance company to covered individuals explaining what medical treatments and/or services were paid for on their behalf. It is not a bill.


United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) also provides a large online glossary of insurance terms on their website (UHCSR Glossary of Insurance Terms). I’ve included some terms that we receive the most questions about below from the website.


Beneficiary: The person or party the owner of a life insurance policy names to receive the policy benefit in the event of the insured’s death.


Co-pay: (1) A fee that many insurance plans require an insured to pay for certain medical services (such as a physician’s office visit). (2) An amount that the insured must pay toward the cost of each prescription under a prescription drug plan.


Coinsurance: A specified percentage of the cost of treatment the insured is required to pay for all covered medical expenses remaining after the policy’s deductible has been met.


Deductible: A flat amount of covered medical expenses that an insured must incur before the insurer will make any benefit payments under a medical expense policy.


Effective date: The specified date of when the health insurance policy is to begin.


Out-of-pocket expense: Any medical care costs not covered by insurance, which must be paid by the insured.


Policy year: The period of time that the policy is to remain in force.