Essential Health Benefits & the Affordable Care Act: What Social Workers Need to Know

Stacy Collins, MSW


Practice Perspectives


A component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have a direct impact on the health and well-being of over 70 million Americans. Beginning in January 2014, most individual and small group health plans operating in the U.S. will be required to provide “essential health benefits” (EHB), a package of health services defined broadly by the ACA, but customized by each state. Social workers should be aware of the EHB development process in their states, to ensure that their state EHB plan addresses the needs of people with chronic disease, disabilities, and other complex health issues, including individuals with mental health and substance use disorders, and that access to social work services is maintained and strengthened.

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