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Health Insurance Glossary

Definitions for common health insurance terms

public option

DEFINITION: A public option – also referred to as a public plan – was a proposal within the health reform legislation that would have created a qualified health benefit plan to compete with other plans that qualify for health insurance exchanges. The public option, which ultimately was omitted from the final Affordable Care Act, would have been subject to the same requirements – regarding benefit levels, provider networks, consumer protections and cost sharing – that would apply to other plans within the exchanges.