Proposed EHB Rule Draws Few Comments

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , July 9, 2012

The latest effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to establish requirements for essential health benefits drew fewer than 30 comments from interested parties during the proposed rule's 30-day comment period, which ended July 4.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires HHS to define EHBs. These are 10 categories of service that must be offered beginning in 2014 by health insurance exchanges, as well as individual and small group health insurance policies.

According to the proposed rule, HHS wants each state to use the small group market plan and product with the largest enrollment as the default benchmark plan if a state doesn't select its own benchmark plan.

It would tag two familiar organizations, the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the non-profit URAC, as the interim accrediting organizations for health plans that want to be part of the state health insurance exchanges. The NCQA and URAC are already responsible for most health plan accreditations.

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