Glossary of Terms:  M - N

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 |


Meals on Wheels — Local agencies provide low cost, hot, nourishing meals to the elderly and disabled, allowing frail, homebound people to remain in their own homes. To find a local program near you or your loved one, click on Meals on Wheels; once at their Web site, click on Search for a Program. You'll find the names, addresses and phone numbers of over 3,200 local programs listed by state. Or, you can call the toll-free ElderCare Locator number at 1-800-677-1116, weekdays from 9AM to 8PM, Eastern time, for the nearest Meals On Wheels program.

Medicaid — A joint federal/state program that pays for health care for individuals and families with low incomes or very high medical bills relative to their income and assets. Coverage and eligibility requirements vary from state-to-state. Medicaid is the primary payer of nursing home care. Some states also offer some home and community-based long-term care services for eligible individuals through their Medicaid programs. These additional services are at the option of the state and are not mandated by federal law.

Medi-Cal — California's Medicaid program.

Medicare — The federal program that provides hospital and medical care to people age 65 or older, and to some younger people who are very ill or disabled. Benefits for nursing home and short-term home health services are limited and are generally available only to people while they are recovering from an acute illness. Coverage is restricted to medical care, and does not include custodial care at home or in nursing homes.

Medicare Supplement Insurance — A private insurance policy that covers many of the gaps in Medicare coverage (also known as Medigap Insurance or Medicare Supplemental Insurance). Except in Minnesota, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, there are 12 standardized plans labeled Plan A through Plan J. (Not all insurance companies offer all 12 plans.) Medicare Supplement Insurance policies work only if you are enrolled in the Original Medicare Plan. But, they won't pay any benefits if you are enrolled in a Medicare HMO or another type of Medicare Plus plan. Medicare Supplement policies can minimize Medicare copayments and deductibles for covered services, but generally do not offer expanded coverage such as long-term care services or prescription drugs.

Medigap — See Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Mid-Cap — A stock with a medium level of capitalization, usually between $1 billion and $5 billion in market value (market value = price per share multiplied by number of shares outstanding). See also large-cap and small-cap.

Minimum Distribution — The minimum annual required distribution amount for an IRA holder reaching age 70 1/2; also called Required Minimum Distribution (RMD).

Morningstar Rating for Funds — A proprietary system that rates mutual funds from 1 to 5 stars based on how well they have performed (after adjusting for risk and accounting for sales charges) in comparison to similar funds. Within each Morningstar Category, the top 10% of funds receive 5 stars; the bottom 10% receive 1 star. Funds are rated for up to three time periods: 3, 5, and 10 years; these ratings are then combined to produce an overall rating. Funds with less than three years of history are not rated. Ratings are objective, based entirely on a mathematical evaluation of past performance. They're a useful tool for identifying funds worthy of further research, but shouldn't be considered buy or sell signals. For more information, visit

Mortgage REIT — A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) that invests in loans secured by real estate. The REIT earns its income from mortgage interest and fees.


Network — A group of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care professionals hired by a managed healthcare plan to take care of its members.

Noncancellable Policies — Insurance policies that cannot be cancelled by the insurance company, except for non-payment of the required insurance premiums. And, the rates can never be changed by the insurance company.

Nonforfeiture Benefits — After a long-term care insurance policy has been in force for a sufficient period of time, your will be entitled to a nonforfeiture benefit if you let the policy lapse. Instead of canceling the policy, the nonforfeiture benefit allows you to keep it in force as a paid-up policy. Nonforfeiture benefits vary from policy-to-policy; they usually include (1) keeping the same benefit amounts, but making the benefit period shorter, or (2) keeping the same benefit period, but with reduced benefit amounts.

Non-Qualified Retirement Plan — A plan that does NOT conform to federal law. As a result, all contributions made into the plan must be made from after-tax monies. However, the contributions will still grow tax-free until retirement or termination of employment. As he or she receives retirement benefits from the plan, ordinary income taxes are paid by the employee only on the portion of each benefit payment that is attributable to the interest earnings. They will owe NO taxes on the portion of each benefit payment attributable to after-tax contributions.

Nursing Home — A state-licensed residential facility that provides a room, meals, help with activities of daily living, recreation, and general nursing care to people who are chronically ill or unable to take care of their daily living needs. It may also be called a Long Term Care Facility. If it has been certified as such by Medicare, it is also referred to as a Skilled Nursing Facility. For more information, click on Nursing Homes.