The Affordable Care Act requires non-grand fathered health plans in the individual and small group markets to cover essential health benefits (EHB), which include items and services in the following ten benefit categories: (1) ambulatory patient services; (2) emergency services;(3) hospitalization; (4) maternity and newborn care;(5) mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment; (6) prescription drugs; (7) rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices;(8) laboratory services;(9) preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and (10) pediatric services, including oral and vision care. HHS regulations (45 CFR 156.100) define EHB based on state-specific EHB benchmark plans. This page contains information on the EHB benchmark plans for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.). In plan years 2014 through 2016, the EHB benchmark plan is a plan that was sold in 2012. For plan year 2017 and beyond, the EHB benchmark plan is a plan that was sold in 2014.
List of Proposed 2017 Essential Health Benefits (EHB) Benchmark Plans
Please click here to view the proposed 2017 EHB benchmark plans for the 50 states and D.C. Additional information regarding each plan is available by selecting a particular state below. Public comments will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 30, 2015. Please submit comments electronically to FFEcomments@cms.hhs.gov with the state clearly identified in the subject line (e.g., “Maryland 2017 Benchmark Plan Comments”). HHS will review all comments and then post the list of final 2017 EHB benchmark plans.
Because EHB benchmark plan benefits are based on plans that were sold in 2012 or 2014, some of the benchmark plan designs may not comply with current federal requirements.. Therefore, when designing plans that are substantially equal to the EHB benchmark plan issuers may need to conform plan benefits, including coverage and limitations, to comply with these requirements and limitations, including but not limited to the following:
The EHB benchmark plans displayed may include annual and/or lifetime dollar limits; however, in accordance with 45 CFR 147.126, these limits cannot be applied to the essential health benefits. Annual and lifetime dollar limits can be converted to actuarially equivalent treatment or service limits.
Pursuant to 45 CFR 156.115(a)(2), with the exception of coverage for pediatric services, a plan may not exclude an enrollee from coverage in an entire EHB category, regardless of whether such limits exist in the EHB benchmark plan. For example, a plan may not exclude dependent children from the category of maternity and newborn coverage.
Please note that in some cases a prescription drug category is listed without a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) class because there are some drugs within the category that have not been assigned to a specific class.
Please also note that, pursuant to 45 CFR 156.122, if the EHB benchmark plan does not include any coverage in a USP category and/or class (count is zero), EHB plans must cover at least one drug in that USP category and/or class.
Pursuant to 45 CFR 156.115, the following benefits are excluded from EHB even though an EHB benchmark plan may cover them: routine non-pediatric dental services, routine non-pediatric eye exam services, long-term/custodial nursing home care benefits, and/or non-medically necessary orthodontia. Please also note that although the EHB benchmark plan may cover abortion services, pursuant to section 1303(b)(1)(A) of the Affordable Care Act, a QHP issuer is not required to cover these services. Section 156.115(c) provides that no health plan is required to cover abortion services as part of the requirement to cover EHB. Nothing in this provision impedes an issuer's ability to choose to cover abortion services or limits a state's ability to either prohibit or require these services under state law.
The EHB benchmark plans displayed may not include coverage of habilitative services and devices. Pursuant to 45 CFR 156.110(f), the State may determine which services are included in the habilitative services and devices category if the base-benchmark plan does not include such coverage. If the State does not supplement the missing habilitative services and devices category, issuers should cover habilitative services and devices as defined in 45 CFR 156.115(a)(5)(i).
The EHB benchmark plans displayed may not comply with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). However, as described in 45 CFR 156.115(a)(3), EHB plans must comply with the standards implemented under MHPAEA, including standards that are effective in the 2017 plan year.
The EHB benchmark plans displayed may not offer the preventive services described in 45 CFR 147.130. However, as described in 45 CFR 156.115(a)(4), EHB plans must comply with that section.
For purposes of determining EHB, state-required benefits (or mandates) are considered to include only requirements that a health plan cover specific care, treatment, or services. Provider mandates, which require a health plan to reimburse specific health care professionals who render a covered service within their scope of practice, are not considered to be state-required benefits for purposes of EHB coverage. Similarly, state-required benefits are not considered to include dependent mandates, which require a health plan to define dependents in a specific manner or to cover dependents under certain circumstances (e.g., newborn coverage, adopted children, domestic partners, and disabled children). Finally, state anti-discrimination requirements relating to service delivery method (e.g., telemedicine) are not considered to be state-required benefits.
To view the EHB benchmark plan for a particular state, please select the state below.
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