- U.S. Per Capita Cost (USPCC)
The national average cost per Medicare beneficiary, calculated annually by HCFA’s Office of the Actuary.
- UB-92 – Uniform Billing Code of 1992
Bill form used to submit hospital insurance claims for payment by third parties. Similar to HCFA 1500, but reserved for the inpatient component of health services.
The practice of providers billing for a package of health care procedures on an individual basis when a single procedure could be used to describe the combined service.
- Uncompensated Care
Service provided by physicians and hospitals for which no payment is received from the patient or from third-party payers. Some costs for these services may be covered through cost-shifting. Not all uncompensated care results from charity care. It also includes bad debts from persons who are not classified as charity cases but who are unable or unwilling to pay their bill. See cost shifting.
People with public or private insurance policies that do not cover all necessary health care services, resulting in out-of-pocket expenses that exceed their ability to pay. See cost shifting.
Process of selecting, classifying, analyzing and assuming risk according to insurability. The insurance function bearing the risk of adverse price fluctuations during a particular period. Analysis of a group that is done to determine rates or to determine whether the group should be offered coverage at all.
People who lack public or private health insurance.
- Universal Access
The right and ability to receive a comprehensive, uniform, and affordable set of confidential, appropriate, and effective health services. Universal service is a reality in countries with national medicine programs or socialized healthcare, such as the UK, Canada, France and most countries in the world. Few countries have the private insurance programs as the primary form of healthcare, as in the US. See Universal Coverage.
- Update Factor
The year-to-year increase in base payment amounts for PPS and excluded hospitals and dialysis facilities. The update factors generally are legislated by the Congress after considering annual recommendations provided by ProPAC and HHS.
- Urgent Services
Benefits covered in an Evidence of Coverage that are required in order to prevent serious deterioration of an insured’s health that results from an unforeseen illness or injury.
- Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR)
Commonly charged fees for health services in a certain area. The use of fee screens to determine the lowest value of provider reimbursement based on: (1) the provider’s usual charge for a given procedure, (2) the amount customarily charged for the service by other providers in the area (often defined as a specific percentile of all charges in the community), and (3) the reasonable cost of services for a given patient after medical review of the case. Most health plans provide reimbursement for usual and customary charges, although no universal formula has been established for these rates.
Use of services and supplies. Utilization is commonly examined in terms of patterns or rates of use of a single service or type of service such as hospital care, physician visits, prescription drugs. Measurement of utilization of all medical services in combination is usually done in terms of dollar expenditures. Use is expressed in rates per unit of population at risk for a given period such as the number of admissions to the hospital per 1,000 persons over age 65 per year, or the number of visits to a physician per person per year for an annual physical. See also UR, UM.
- Utilization Review, Utilization Management (UR, UM)
Evaluation of the necessity, appropriateness, and efficiency of the use of health care services, procedures, and facilities. In a hospital, this includes review of the appropriateness of admissions, services ordered and provided, length of a stay, and discharge practices, both on a concurrent and retrospective basis. Utilization review can be done by a peer review group, or a public agency. UR is a method of tracking, reviewing and rendering opinions regarding care provided to patients. Usually UR involves the use of protocols, benchmarks or data with which to compare specific cases to an aggregate set of cases. Those cases falling outside the protocols or range of data are reviewed individually. Managed care organizations will sometimes refuse to reimburse or pay for services which do not meet their own sets of UR standards. UR involves the review of patient records and patient bills primarily but may also include telephone conversations with providers. The practices of pre-certification, re-certification, retrospective review and concurrent review all describe UR methods. UR is one of the primary tools utilized by IDS, MCO and health plans to control over-utilization, reduce costs and manage care.