InformationWeek, June 7, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to better define the "essential benefits" that non-grandfathered health plans participating in the state health insurance exchanges must offer. Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, all of these insurance plans must offer an essential benefits package that includes benefits in specific categories. But in December 2011, HHS told the states that they could determine what those benefits would be by using a "benchmark" plan in their state in one of four categories. If a state doesn't do so, HHS said, it intends to propose that the default benchmark plan be the largest plan by enrollment in the small-group insurance market.

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