By Emily McKinley, Health Information Specialist On December 16, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a bulletin further defining Essential Health Benefits (EHB), a critical element of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This provision of the act was initially designed and included in the legislation to ensure all Americans have affordable access to a comprehensive health care insurance policy. Essential Health Benefits define the categories of care that must be covered by all certified and non-grandfathered insurance plans beginning in January of 2014. (Grandfathered plans include some group and individual plans created and sold on or before March 23, 2010. For more information about grandfathered plans, please visit http://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/g/grandfathered-health.html .) Ten benefit categories are considered EHB. Those are: ambulating patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use
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