Comment on Essential Health Benefits!

9 Comments | Posted

The deadline has passed but that does not mean we can rest. Continue to share your comments and be sure to put them in the comment section below as well. Our journey as participants in the evolution of health care reform in America has just begun. Stay tuned for next steps.

In a December bulletin, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed to give states wide discretion to set their own essential health benefits (EHB) standard for health plans sold through the new exchanges. However, there are challenges ahead for children's mental health supporters as this does not have a clear-cut, comprehensive federal standard to help guide the process. It is our belief that if left up solely to the states, we could see significant disparities in coverage.

Here are the four key points you need to make in your message to HHS. Cut and paste or create your own message:

Please send comments to
Subject line: Re: Comment on Essential Health Benefits Bulletin

1. Support the Inclusion of a Wide Array of  Mental Health Benefits and an Expanded Work Force to Carry Them Out

2. HHS Should not Allow a "Minimum Standard"

3. Support the "Plus"  in the "Plus Ten" Approach

4. Require a Uniform Set of National Benefits

 Please send comments to through today - so take 10 minutes (the time it takes to stand in line for a coffee or sitting in the drive-through lane picking up lunch). If you can do that today you surely can do this!

Want more details on our full set of considerations for the HHS Bulletin? Read more here.

After emailing your comments to let us know what you said by sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.


  1. Conni Wells's avatar
    Conni Wells
    | Permalink
    Done! Thanks! You made this SO easy! No excuses for not doing it!
  2. Pam Marshall's avatar
    Pam Marshall
    | Permalink
    Thank you for keeping us timely and making it so easy. With so many competing demands on a day, it feels good to be able to participate in this without a lot of time invested.
  3. Melanie Funchess's avatar
    Melanie Funchess
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    I submitted my comments. Thanks Scott for the wonderfully articulate yet easily understandable language!!! I am so happy to be part of such a great community!!
  4. Elaine Slaton's avatar
    Elaine Slaton
    | Permalink
    Thanks for drafting these excellent comments and making it so easy to participate!
  5. Barbara Fountain's avatar
    Barbara Fountain
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    1. Support the Inclusion of a Wide Array of Mental Health Benefits and an Expanded Work Force to Carry Them Out because every child and family is different and they have different needs. get away from the one size fits all and provide a wide array of services that will help children recover.

    2. HHS Should not Allow a "Minimum Standard" we don't want minimum standards when it comes to the saftey of our automobiles why should children be left with minimum standards? We pride ourselves in saying children are our future but talk is cheap let's put the talk into action!

    3. Support the "Plus" in the "Plus Ten" Approach because individuals need full coverage and insurance companies don't need a loop hole to opt out. When preventative care is not provided diseases go unnoticed until the patient is critical and we spend more money than had we been proactive with preventive care. Most citizens in this country are poor and have no health coverage by the time they acquire insurance its Medicare; by this time they are seriously ill with some conditions that could have been treated.
    4. Require a Uniform Set of National Benefits for everyone. Our legislature is the only group of people who can retire in 2 years and obtain full medical coverage not only for themselves but their families. Its time for an equal playing ground! If regular citizens can't have good uniform health care then neither should the legislature and their families
  6. Kathleen Rahn's avatar
    Kathleen Rahn
    | Permalink
    The policy must stress the importance of intensive community-based mental health services for children, youth and their families. Since the early 1980's the Children's Mental Health Initiative has been showcasing the value of a systems of care approach in meeting the mental health needs of children and families. This approach is necessary to make sure services are coordinated and high quality.

    It is imperative that the Bulletin should not allow state or insurer flexibility to go below a national Essential Health Benefits floor or allow flexibility that will discriminate against individuals with disabilities, functional limitations, or mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse conditions or otherwise undermine efforts to achieve true parity in benefits. I live in Arizona and we have already experienced how the "race to the bottom" can be encouraged when basic mental health services are not valued by a state legislature.

    The Affordable Care Act will address the needs of an additional 37 million people who will receive coverage - and that is a good thing! Expanding coverage to intensive community-based services and supports will require an expanded work force, including respite providers and parent support providers.
  7. Dawna C Westbrook, LMSW., MA., CAC's avatar
    Dawna C Westbrook, LMSW., MA., CAC
    | Permalink
    1. I want to support the Inclusion of a Wide Array of Mental Health Benefits and an Expanded Work Force to Carry Them Out

    2. HHS Should not Allow a "Minimum Standard"

    3. I support the "Plus" in the "Plus Ten" Approach

    4. I think there should be a required Uniform Set of National Benefits
  8. Lisa Lambert's avatar
    Lisa Lambert
    | Permalink
    I just submitted my comment to HHS and it was easy to do using Scott's brilliant summary. Who else did it?
  9. Susan Taccheri's avatar
    Susan Taccheri
    | Permalink
    In Indiana, the intensive services are poorly reimbursed and increasingly unavailable (especially INPATIENT and RESIDENTIAL) and there is no funding mechanism for community based intensive options as alternative. This is very concerning because adversely effecting the wellbeing of our
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