Older Americans Act (OAA)

Enacted in 1965, this act was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It established the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) as well as state agencies on aging to address the social services needs of the elderly. The network provides funding for nutrition and supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services, elder rights programs, the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Native American Caregiver Support Program.

Olmstead Decision

Also known as Olmstead v. L.C., is a 1999 United States Supreme Court case regarding discrimination against people with disabilities. The Supreme Court held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public entities must provide community-based services to individuals with disabilities when (1) such services are appropriate; (2) these individuals do not oppose community-based treatment; and (3) community-based services can be reasonably accommodated.

open enrollment

The period of time during which health insurance coverage options are offered to a specified population.

orphan drug

An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical that remains commercially undeveloped owing to limited potential for profitability. The Food & Drug Administration Orphan Drug Designation program designates orphan status to drugs and biologics intended for treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases or conditions. The FDA defines a rare disease or condition as those affecting less than 200,000 people in the U.S. — or affecting more than 200,000 provided that the drug is not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing.

out-of-pocket cap

An annual limit on how much an individual has to pay in deductibles, coinsurance and copayments, excluding the premium. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires new plans offered beginning in 2014 to include an out-of-pocket maximum set at the current maximum level for contribution to a health savings account, or $7,150 for an individual or $14,300 for a family policy in 2017.


A person receiving medical services who has not been admitted to a hospital.


A term used when patients receive care that is not medically indicated. Typical examples are use of antibiotics to treat a cold or the use of imaging devices for someone with the first signs of lower back pain.