HHS’s essential health benefits bulletin is less than two
months old–in fact, the comment period just closed this week, click here for
our comment letter–but some states are already planning for what it could mean
for their residents.
The Bulletin indicates that states will be able to choose
the core of their essential health benefits package by copying the benefits
from one of ten existing health plans.
That immediately raises the question–what do those ten plans cover? And
which one would be best for kids, families, and all health insurance consumers?
Answering these questions will be complex, but a great
way to start is to look at the ten plan choices side-by-side to compare what
they cover. In Maine, the
Department of Insurance has put together a helpful table that compares
coverage across plans in some key benefit categories. It’s by no means a complete analysis, but it’s a great way
to begin this important comparison.
Have you seen a similar document in your state? If not, it could be something to ask
your state’s insurance regulator to put together. Of course, you’ll still want to make sure that the full plan
documents that provide detailed coverage information are released publicly for
each of the potential benchmarks before your state’s selection is made. But getting the plan comparison
underway with a summary table like Maine’s can be a good way to get started–the
Bulletin says states should choose their benchmark plans by the third quarter
of this year.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth blog in a series on essential health benefits.