By Richard Frank

March 20, 2017


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The Affordable Care Act protects people who buy insurance against a

comprehensive set of health care risks. It specifies a set of 10 essential

health benefits that all plans must cover, and also requires that plans

provide those benefits with defined levels of cost-sharing by the

individuals covered. By offering benefit “flexibility,” the Republican bill

to replace the ACA could mean more expensive insurance for covering

pregnancy, newborn care, mental illness, and addiction disorders. 


The 10 essential benefits now required of all plans sold in the health

insurance marketplaces, also called health exchanges, include outpatient

care, hospital care, emergency services, prescription drugs, laboratory

tests, preventive care, rehabilitative services, pediatric care, mental

health services and addiction treatment, and maternity and newborn care.