Should health care be spelled as two words?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

The MLA primarily follows Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for spelling, so we spell health care as two words when it is used as a noun, and we hyphen it as an adjective—for example, health-care costs (“Health Care”). Other publishers may follow other dictionaries and spell healthcare as one word in both noun and adjective forms. As always, whichever form you choose, be consistent throughout your paper.

Work Cited

“Health Care, N.” Merriam-Webster Unabridged, 2018,