Glossary of Terms:  H

This glossary covers terms related to retirement (including financial, insurance, legal and estate planning) and elder care. (For terms related to Medicare, click on Medicare Glossary.) To reduce download time, we have divided the Glossary into the following sections. Simply click on the section you want to see.

| A | B | C | D | E-F | G | H | I | J-L | M-N | O-P | Q-R | S | T-Z |


Hands-On Assistance — Physical assistance without which an individual would not be able to perform an activity of daily living.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) — For most people age 65 and older, a type of Medicare managed care plan where a group of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers agree to give health care to Medicare beneficiaries for a set amount of money from Medicare every month. In an HMO, you usually must get all of your care from the providers that are part of the plan; if you use providers that are outside your HMO plan, you will pay for their services out of your own pocket.

Heir — Someone who inherits assets from an estate of another person who has died. The heir does not have to pay income tax or estate tax on the value of the inheritance received.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) — The federal law that governs patient privacy. In general, it prevents unauthorized people from learning about your private medical information.

Home Health Care (Home Care) — Supportive services in the home ranging from skilled nursing care and occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapy — to assistance with activities of daily living and housekeeping. This support allows many older people to remain in their own homes. For more information, click on Home Health Care.

Home Health Aides — Individuals who provide non-medical health care to people at home. Training or certification requirements vary from state-to-state, but typical services include assistance with activities of daily living, managing medications and some household tasks. In some states, only licensed home health aides can provide hands-on assistance.

Homemaker Services — Household services done by someone other than yourself because you are unable to do them. These services can include shopping, laundry, light cleaning, meal preparation and transportation assistance. Homemakers cannot provide hands-on care in most states.

Hospice Care — Continuous care provided for a terminally-ill person, and his or her family, during the final stages of life. (A terminally-ill person has a life expectancy of six months or less.) Hospice care can be provided at home, in a facility with a homelike setting, a hospital or a nursing home. The care includes physical care, counseling and support services, but does not attempt to cure any illness.