Lawmakers Recommend Standards For Minimum Health Coverage

Utah’s Health System Reform Task Force unanimously voted today (Thursday) in favor of recommending an essential health benefits package. The plan will set the minimum coverage allowed by Utah insurance companies in the individual and small group markets under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Kelly Atkinson, Executive Director of the Utah Health Insurance Association, says the Utah Basic Health Plan option will cover the needs of the general public.

“This essential benefit program has the potential to bring the young people who are healthy and think they are never going to get sick into the insurance market to be insured. That’s a good thing for the citizens of Utah and the taxpayers in the state of Utah,”he says.

According to the federal law, the essential health benefits package must cover 10 different categories, including preventive medicine, mental health and emergency services.

Republican Representative Dean Sanpei says concerns over a lack of mental health services will be addressed as the plan moves forward, and more discussions will occur regarding adding services and adjusting costs.

“Given that we have quite a bit of ambiguity still we are getting different answers from HHS, lots of rules are still yet to come, there’s an election in November, there’s a lot of different parameters, I think when we have that ambiguity it is prudent to start small and add,” he says.

The committee’s recommendation now moves forward to the state’s Insurance Commissioner for adoption.