A written OK from your primary care doctor for you to see a specialist or get certain services. In many Medicare Managed Care Plans, you need to get a referral before you can get care from anyone except your primary care doctor. If you don't get a referral first, the plan may not pay for your care.

A plan may restrict certain health care services to an enrollee unless the enrollee receives a referral from a plan-approved caregiver, on paper, referring them to a specific place/person for the service. Generally, a referral is defined as an actual document obtained from a provider in order for the beneficiary to receive additional services.


Request sent to a IV-D agency from a non IV-D agent or agency asking that a child support case be established.

Source: Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Usually refers to an alternative program, like drug/alcohol rehabilitation ("rehab") instead of serving time in jail.

Source: California Courts.