Search Fred Hutch Extranet

This List of Terms is provided as a reference to define commonly unknown, or misunderstood, terminology within the health care benefits industry. It is NOT intended to be an exhaustive list of health care benefits-related terms. These definitions are provided by the Health Insurance Marketplace, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; the Washington Healthplanfinder Glossary of Terms and supplemented by the Fred Hutch/SCCA Human Resources Department.

Affordable Care Act

The comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010. The law was enacted in two parts: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and was amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act on March 30, 2010. The name "Affordable Care Act" is used to refer to the final, amended version of the law. (Informally referred to as "ACA" and "Obamacare.")


A fixed amount (for example, $25) you pay for a covered health care service, usually when you get the service. The amount can vary by the type of covered health care service.


The amount you owe for covered health care services before your health insurance or plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $1,000, your plan won't pay anything until you've met your $1,000 deductible for covered health care services subject to the deductible. The deductible may not apply to all services.

Domestic Partnership

Two people of the same or opposite sex who live together and share a domestic life, but aren't married or joined by a civil union. In some states, domestic partners are guaranteed some legal rights, like hospital visitation. (Informally referred to as "DP.")

Open Enrollment Period

The period of time during which eligible employees can enroll in, or make changes to, their health and dental plan benefit elections. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center's open enrollment period runs in May. After open enrollment ends, benefits changes can only be made if you have a qualifying event as defined by the IRS. (Informally referred to as "OE.")

Plan Year

A 12-month period of benefits coverage under a group health plan. This 12-month period may not be the same as the calendar year. Fred Hutch's plan year is July 1 to June 30.


The amount that must be paid for your health insurance or plan. Your and/or your employer usually pay it monthly, quarterly or yearly.

Qualifying Event

A change in your life that can make you eligible for a special enrollment period to enroll in or change your benefit elections. Some examples of qualifying events are: marriage, divorce, childbirth or child adoption, loss or gain of coverage due to termination/commencement of employment. Election changes as a result of a qualifying event must be made within 30 days of the event.

Washington Apple Health

Washington state health care programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.