Glossary - P

This glossary explains terms in the Medicare program.

P

Pap test

A test to check for cancer of the cervix, the opening to a woman's uterus. It's done by removing cells from the cervix. The cells are then prepared so they can be seen under a microscope.

Patient lifts

A medical device used to lift you from a bed or wheelchair.

Pelvic exam

An exam to check if internal female organs are normal by feeling their shape and size.

Penalty

An amount added to your monthly premium for Part B or a Medicare drug plan (Part D) if you don't join when you're first eligible. You pay this higher amount as long as you have Medicare. There are some exceptions.

Pharmacy network

Pharmacies that have agreed to provide members of certain Medicare plans with services and supplies at a discounted price. In some Medicare plans, your prescriptions are only covered if you get them filled at network pharmacies.

Physical therapy

Treatment of an injury or a disease by mechanical means, like exercise, massage, heat, and light treatment.

Pilot programs

See "demonstrations."

Podiatrist

Foot doctor

Point-of-service option

In a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), this option lets you use doctors and hospitals outside the plan for an additional cost.

Power of attorney

A medical power of attorney is a document that lets you appoint someone you trust to make decisions about your medical care. This type of advance directive also may be called a health care proxy, appointment of health care agent, or a durable power of attorney for health care.

Pre-existing condition

A health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts.

Preferred pharmacy

A pharmacy that's part of a Medicare drug plan's network. You pay lower out-of-pocket costs if you get your prescription drugs from a preferred pharmacy instead of a non-preferred pharmacy.

Premium

The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company, or a health care plan for health or prescription drug coverage.

Preventive services

Health care to prevent illness or detect illness at an early stage, when treatment is likely to work best (for example, preventive services include Pap tests, flu shots, and screening mammograms).

Primary care doctor

The doctor you see first for most health problems. He or she makes sure you get the care you need to keep you healthy. He or she also may talk with other doctors and health care providers about your care and refer you to them. In many Medicare Advantage Plans, you must see your primary care doctor before you see any other health care provider.

Prior authorization

Approval that you must get from a Medicare drug plan before you fill your prescription in order for the prescription to be covered by your plan.Your Medicare drug plan may require prior authorization for certain drugs.

Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

A special type of health plan that provides all the care and services covered by Medicare and Medicaid as well as additional medically necessary care and services based on your needs as determined by an interdisciplinary team. PACE serves frail older adults who need nursing home services but are capable of living in the community. PACE combines medical, social, and long-term care services and prescription drug coverage.

Protective sensations

Feeling in the foot or leg that helps warn you that the skin is being injured. Nerve damage caused by diabetes can cause loss of feeling in the foot or leg, also known as "loss of protective sensations (LOPS)." This may result in skin loss, blisters, or ulcers.


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Note

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.