We use words to describe and explain medical care and insurance that may be very confusing! Below are listed some definitions and explanations of important concepts and insurance terms. If you need further explanation, call the insurance office at 541-737-6748.

For additional information, the Student’s Guide to Health Insurance offers valuable information for students living independently for the first time, and for recent grads entering the workforce.

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An unexpected event that causes injury.

Basic Medical Plan: 

Insurance coverage that pays agreed-on medical expenses up to a relatively low maximum. For example, an insurance maximum may be $50,000 lifetime benefit for each injury or sickness.


The money the insurance company pays the health care provider for medical services to you if you become ill or injured.


A request by you for payment by the insurance company of medical expenses that are covered under the insurance policy. The provider of a medical service will usually file a claim for you.


The amount (typically a percentage) you are obligated to pay for covered medical services after you’ve satisfied any co-payment or deductible required by your health insurance plan.


The set or fixed-dollar amount you are required to pay each time a particular medical service is used. A co-payment for services may be $10 per visit.


The conditions for which the insurance company will pay.


The cumulative amount that you must pay annually before benefits will be paid by the insurance company. If the insurance policy indicates a "$250 deductible," the insurance company pays as agreed after you pay the first $250.


Your spouse and children.


A severe medical condition which may include pain, loss of breathing or consciousness, heart attack, stroke, poisoning, convulsions or severe bleeding.


Conditions for which the insurance company will not pay; for example, cosmetic procedures are exclusions.

Explanation of Benefits (EOB): 

The statement you receive from the insurance company showing the services, amounts paid by the plan and total for which you are being billed.

Health Insurance Policy (coverage, plan):

Insurance to cover the costs or losses incurred if an insured person falls ill.

Identification Card: 

A card given to you that identifies you as being eligible for benefits. The card must be presented when seeking treatment.


A system under which individuals, businesses and other organizations, in exchange for a premium, are promised payment for losses resulting from certain dangers as specified in a contract.

Insurance Company: 

An organization licensed to operate as an insurer.

Insurance Policy: 

The legal document issued by the company to the policyholder (Purdue) which outlines the terms and conditions of the insurance; also called a "contract."


A person or organization covered by an insurance policy.

Major Medical: 

A plan that provides much broader coverage than the basic medical plan up to a high limit. You may increase your coverage by paying an additional amount more than your basic premium.


A group of medical providers that are contracted with a specific insurance company for highest payment levels.

OSU Health Fee: 

Charged to all students, provides on-campus health clinic with clinician visits covered as part of the health fee, violence prevention programs, health promotion and education to the campus community.

Out-of-network care: 

Healthcare rendered to a patient outside of the health insurance company's network of preferred providers. In many cases, the health insurance company will not pay for these services.

Out-of-Pocket Costs: 

The total you pay out of your pocket for a policy year. These costs include the deductible, co-insurance and amounts considered by the insurance company to be above the "Usual and Customary charges."


A business where drugs approved by a doctor are legally sold.

Pre-existing Condition: 

A medical condition that required treatment during a fixed period of time, usually 3 or 6 months, before you purchased your insurance policy.


The price you pay for your insurance policy.

Stop Loss: 

See "Out-of-Pocket Costs."

Usual and Customary Charges: 

(Also called "Reasonable and Customary Charges") The routine charge for a medical service by similar professional medical providers in the same geographical area. You may pay an amount above the Usual and Customary charge if a provider charges more than other providers for the same service.