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Feds to design health insurance for the masses

RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR AP 10/07/2011 22:16
Feds to design health insurance for the masses - health care - USA - Business


The federal government is taking on a crucial new role in the nation's health care, designing a basic benefits package for millions of privately insured Americans. A framework for the Obama administration was released Thursday.



The report by independent experts from the Institute of Medicine lays out guidelines for deciding what to include in the new "essential benefits package," how to keep it affordable for small businesses and taxpayers, and also scientifically up to date.

About 68 million Americans, many of them currently insured, ultimately would be affected by the new benefits package. That's bigger than the number of seniors enrolled in Medicare.

The advisers recommended that the package be built on mid-tier health plans currently offered by small employers, expanded to include certain services such as mental health, and squeezed into a real-world budget.

They did not spell out a list of services to cover, but they did recommend that the government require evidence of cost effectiveness.


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