The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a pre-rule informational Bulletin which lays out its proposed approach for determining the Essential Benefits package required of all qualified health plans (QHPs) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HHS deferred to States’ judgment by allowing a State to create a benchmark essential benefits package from a currently-available plan within the State, as long as the package includes benefits from the ten benefit categories laid out in the ACA. HHS proposes that States choose the benchmark plan from a list of plan types:
- One of the three largest small group plans in the State by enrollment
- One of the three largest State employee health plans by enrollment
- One of the three largest federal employee health plan options by enrollment
- The largest HMO plan offered in the State’s commercial market by enrollment
If a State does not select a benchmark plan, HHS intends to propose that the default benchmark be the benefits package from the largest small group plan within the State.
For more information on Essential Benefits, click here.
March 13, 2013
On February 25th, 2013, final regulations implementing the essential health benefit (EHB) provisions of the Affordable Care Act were published in the Federal Register (78 Fed. Reg. 12834-12872). The EHB rules, which amend 45 C.F.R., apply to all non-grandfathered individual and small group health plans sold after January 1, 2014, as well as Medicaid benchmark and benchmark-equivalent health plans. The EHB rules also apply to...
November 29, 2012
On November 26, 2012, the Obama Administration published a series of proposed rules implementing many of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) most important insurance reforms, including Health Insurance Market Rules and Rate Review (77 Fed. Reg. 70584), Nondiscriminatory Wellness Programs in Group Health Plans (77 Fed. Reg. 70620), and Standards Related to Essential Health Benefits, Actuarial Value, and Accreditation (77 Fed. Reg. 70644). In addition, the Administration issued informal guidance that add to and amplify on the provisions of the proposed rules.
This Implementation Brief Update examines the proposed rule implementing the Act’s essential health benefits...
June 15, 2012
On June 5, 2012 the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule (77 FR 33133-33142) that would establish data collection standards for health insurance issuers as part of the Department’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) essential health benefit provisions. Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on July 5, 2012.
Under the ACA, as of January 1, 2014 all health insurers selling policies in the individual and small group...
May 9, 2012
In February 2012, CMS issued a supplemental document entitled Frequently Asked Questions on Essential Health Benefits Bulletin. This supplement to the December 16th Bulletin provides answers to 22 questions arising from the December 16th Bulletin itself. Highlights are as follows:
April 20, 2012
This update to our March 2012 implementation brief reviews recent implementation efforts by the Administration in connection with coverage of contraceptives as a required element of required preventive services for all individual and (non-grandfathered) group health plans under the Affordable Care Act. The earlier brief reviewed the Administration’s final rules defining the scope of contraception coverage, as well as the scope of the religious exemption that would apply to employers that seek an exemption from this coverage requirement. Reflecting prior law on this matter, the final rule preserved...
March 9, 2012
The Affordable Care Act included a number of insurance market reforms designed to make health insurance more affordable and available. During consideration of the ACA, one criticism of the private insurance market was that the lack of standardization in descriptions of health insurance policies available made shopping for coverage both difficult and time consuming. The ACA included provisions designed to assist consumers in better understanding their health insurance coverage, and to assist in comparing their insurance policy with other available options. Among those provisions are requirements for plans offered in both the group and individual insurance markets to provide a summary of benefits and coverage and a uniform glossary of terms commonly used in health insurance policies.