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Health Insurance Glossary

Definitions for common health insurance terms

waiting period

DEFINITION: Waiting periods were among the fears vocalized by opponents of single-payer health care systems. Critics of single-payer systems in countries such as Canada cite lengthy waits for some elective surgeries. Proponents of single-payer systems note that a high percentage of Americans already are being unable to obtain medical care – including medication, testing and treatment – because of costs, while a much smaller percentage of residents in single-payer systems report that costs had limited their access to care.
Related terms: rationing, single-payer, socialized medicine