Health Care and Life Sciences > Health Reform Resource Center > Institute of Medicine Releases Essential Health Benefits Report
07 Oct '11

On October 7, 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report setting forth the methodology it recommends that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) use to determine the essential health benefits package.  The Affordable Care Act requires plans participating in the insurance exchanges to, at minimum, provide coverage for a  defined set of benefits, known as essential health benefits.  While the statute provides a set of ten broad categories of services to be included in the benefits package, HHS asked the IOM to recommend a process by which the Secretary could define and update the essential health benefits.  In its report, the IOM concluded that the federal government should consider cost as a factor in deciding what benefits should be included.  Although HHS is not bound by the IOM recommendations, Secretary Sebelius said in a statement that HHS would consider IOM’s report and anticipates issuing its proposed rule on the benefits package “soon.”   Before publication of such rule, however, HHS plans to hold a series of listening sessions to gain input from relevant stakeholders.  The IOM report is available through the IOM web site: