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Health Insurance Glossary

Definitions for common health insurance terms

essential health benefits

DEFINITION: Beginning in 2014, under the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance policies sold in state health insurance exchanges and off exchange must cover what physicians and consumer advocates call essential health benefits or essential benefits. The benefits will ensure that 8.7 million Americans will gain maternity coverage, 4.8 million Americans will gain substance abuse coverage, 2.3 million Americans will gain mental health coverage, and 1.3 million Americans will gain prescription drug coverage.