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Health Reform 101: Commerce department provides information on benefits

Minnesota consumers looking to buy insurance for 2014 will see important changes in law to comply with the health reform in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is a trusted resource to provide Minnesotans with the health insurance information they need to understand upcoming changes to help make the important decisions for themselves and their families.

One of the changes in your health insurance coverage you will see starting January 1, 2014, is a larger set of benefits included in your policy. Individual and small group health plans will need to include a standard set of essential health benefits (EHB). All existing non-grandfathered plans will need to include these benefits, as well as any new plan you buy through Minnesota's online health insurance marketplace, MNsure, or outside of MNsure with your insurance agent or broker.

Health plans will need to cover several "essential" services, including:

· maternity care;

· prescription drugs;

· mental health care;

· emergency care;

· dental and vision care for children;

· preventive care; and

· many others.

Plans sold in Minnesota will also include benefits that are similar to a typical plan in our state. You can learn more about what is required to be covered in Minnesota here.

While health plans must have all of the essential health benefits, the cost you pay may vary under different policies. When shopping for a new plan, consumers will want to consider the deductible and the copay or coinsurance you would pay when you use your health care, as well as the premium you pay each month.

Visit the Commerce Department's website for more information about essential health benefits.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help.

Call our Consumer Response Team at 651-539-1600 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3602 (in Greater Minnesota) if you have any questions about your insurance or if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or fraud.