With House Republicans on the verge of passing a long-awaited health care overhaul, the future of US insurance coverage hinges on three words: essential health benefits.
The GOP’s proposal to let states define on their own which benefits all insurance plans must cover — prescription drugs? hospitalizations? childhood vaccinations? mental health? — would fundamentally reshape insurance for millions of Americans. It would likely drive down premiums, as plans with skimpier coverage would spring up in states which granted more flexibility. But it could drive up costs for individuals, by leaving them responsible for far more out-of-pocket expenses.