Explaining Health Care Reform: What is Health Insurance?

A key element in any comprehensive health reform plan is defining what health insurance is and the amount of insurance coverage people will have. There are two components to that coverage: the types of services covered (e.g., physician care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, etc.), and the cost sharing required of enrollees (e.g., the annual deductible, the copayments or coinsurance, and the maximum out-of-pocket costs for a year).

The overall approach to reform drives the kinds of policy decisions that must be made concerning the level of coverage people will have. This brief explains the ways in which coverage might be defined under a health reform plan, and some of the policy issues raised by those determinations.

It is part of a series of briefs providing an overview of key issues and concepts related to health reform.

Brief (.pdf)

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