Monday, July 30, 2012
Health Insurance Exchange Board recommends standards for benefit package
Last week, the CT Health Insurance Exchange Board voted on their recommendation for the benchmark essential health benefit (EHB) package that must be offered in 2014 by all individual and small group plans, both inside and outside the Exchange, under national health reform. Federal regulators granted states the ability to define the EHB package, within guidelines. The plan is modeled on ConnectiCare’s HMO package, with additions including coverage for prescription drugs and pediatric vision and dental care. The plan includes all state mandated benefits. Abortion coverage is included but must be paid with non-federal funds. The choice of ConnectiCare’s package was a compromise reached in two Exchange Advisory Committees in a contentious process. The plan represents the middle choice in generosity of benefits and price among the federal options. Thankfully, the Exchange Board honored the process of the two committees; advocates had been concerned that the insurance-dominated Board, that includes no independent consumer representatives, would choose a less generous option. The recommendation is now open to public comment for 30 days.