Essential Health Benefits in Texas

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Stacey Pogue /(512) 320-0222 x 117

January 25, 2012

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On December 16, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a bulletin describing its proposed approach to defining the “essential health benefits” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly referred to as national health reform). Starting in 2014, the essential health benefits (EHB) will serve as a floor for the package of health care services that must be covered in many health insurance policies. The ACA establishes some parameters for EHB, but HHS’ recent bulletin leaves it up to the states to define EHB within the federal framework. HHS is accepting public comment on its EHB approach through January 31, 2012, via This Policy Page explains EHB, reviews Texas’ options, and discusses what we still do not know about minimum standards for coverage in 2014.