What does health insurance cover?

Today, there is a wide range of health insurance policies offering different benefits and access to different doctors, hospitals or other providers. Starting in 2014, all health insurance plans will share some common characteristics. The federalnow requires that all health plans offered in the individual and small group markets must provide a comprehensive package of items and services, known as. These benefits fit into the following 10 categories:

  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including dental and vision care

The requirement for insurance plans to offer Essential Health Benefits is just one of many changes coming in 2014.

How do I choose a health plan?

It can be overwhelming to find the right health plan for you and your family. Before you get started, it is important to understand another big change happening in health insurance. Starting in 2014, all health insurance newly sold to individuals and small businesses must be classified as one of the four levels of coverage – bronze, silver, gold or platinum. In addition, a “catastrophic” plan will be available to those who are under 30 years old or can provide a certification that they are without affordable coverage or are experiencing hardship.

This system will make it easier for you to compare plans. You can choose to pay a higher monthly premium for a platinum or gold plan so that when you need medical coverage, you pay less. Or you can choose to pay a lower monthly premium for a silver or bronze plan, but when you need medical coverage, you pay more. It’s up to you.