Affordable Care Act Report from The Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report on Friday regarding policies to establish the essential benefits package under the Affordable Care Act.  The report “Essential Health Benefits: Balancing Coverage and Cost” is intended to advise HHS on the critical issue in advance of HHS developing regulations.  Marty Ford had testified on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities during the IOM’s deliberations.  Her comments focused on the importance of including habilitation services and devices as an essential benefit and we are pleased that the IOM specifically recommended that habilitation services be a part of the package.  The ACA requires that all health plans cover ten categories of benefits, including “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.” However, the ACA did not define these key terms.  The IOM report makes recommendations on how HHS should approach these issues but was not asked to recommend a specific list of covered benefits.  HHS is planning to seek public input on this issue in advance of publishing proposed rules.  The Arc will be reviewing the IOM report and will provide additional input to HHS on this important issue for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

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