State Flexibility Key Message In HHS ‘Essential Benefits’ Bulletin
The Department of Health and Human Services today released a "pre-rule bulletin" regarding the health law's essential benefits package.
Kaiser Health News: "Those benefits, which must be offered by insurers in most policies sold to individuals and small businesses, are one of the key flash points in the federal health law. Patient advocates have called for a broad national standard covering a wide range of treatments, while business groups say affordability must be a top consideration, even if it means a more limited package" (Appleby, 12/16).
Politico Pro: "HHS plans to give states "maximum flexibility” to select benchmark plans covering essential health benefit requirements, the department said Friday in its first highly anticipated guidance on one of the health reform law’s most important provisions. In the bulletin, HHS said states can select a benchmark plan matching the scope of services employers typically offer" (Millman, 12/16).
The Hill: "The Obama administration said Friday that it will defer to states on one of the most important mandates in the healthcare reform law. The Health and Human Services Department said states will take the lead in determining the benefits that every health plan will soon have to cover. Defining 'essential health benefits' is among the most important steps in implementing the Affordable Care Act" (Baker, 12/16).
Modern Healthcare: "Initial guidance that HHS released Friday to obtain early public feedback said the department's coming rules implementing the essential benefit requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will allow states to select from among plans already operating within their borders. The law requires all small-group and individual insurance market plans nationwide cover a core group of services, known as an essential benefits package, starting in 2014" (Daly, 12/16).
Read the HHS fact sheet on the bulletin.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.