Plans and Benefits

All issuers are required to provide the following data on their health plans:
  • Plan identifiers
  • Plan attributes
  • Covered benefits and their limits
  • Cost-sharing information
Issuers enter these plan data in the Plans & Benefits Template, which consists of two worksheets: the benefits package worksheet and the cost share variances worksheet.

Issuers must also indicate essential health benefit (EHB) benchmark plan coverage requirements. To reflect these requirements, the Plans & Benefits Add-in file populates state- and market-specific EHB benchmark data in the benefits package worksheet.

Key Changes for PY2025:
  • There is new guidance relating to non-standardized plan option limits to ensure compliance with requirements at 45 CFR 156.202.
  • There is new guidance related to how to enter certain telehealth benefit and cost sharing information:
    • For Section 2.24 on Covered Benefits, if the cost sharing of a benefit varies based on benefit setting, issuers must fill out the copay and coinsurance for the most common in-person setting for provision of that benefit and explain cost sharing for any less common settings in the Benefit Explanation field. 
    • Also, issuers must explain any telehealth-specific benefit designs in the Benefit Explanation field of the Plans & Benefits Template, including any differences in cost sharing from in-person services as well as applicable limitations, virtual provider referral requirements, or other telehealth-specific benefit characteristics.
    • If a plan variant marketing name (PVMN) refers to telehealth or virtual care, issuers must explain this reference in the Benefit Explanation field. 
  • There is additional detail in the Plan Variant Marketing Name section to help issuers ensure that marketing names are correct and not misleading, in keeping with requirements at 45 CFR 225(c).
Tips for the Plans & Benefits Section
  • Download the most recent versions of the 2025 Plans & Benefits Template, Plans & Benefits Add-In file, and Actuarial Value Calculator (AVC) from the QHP certification website.
  • Save the Plans & Benefits Add-In file in the same folder as the Plans & Benefits Template so the macros will run properly.
  • All data elements that we anticipate displaying to Individual Market consumers on Plan Compare are identified by a number sign (#) next to the field name in the instructions below.
  • All data fields required for SADP issuers are identified by an asterisk (*) next to the field name in the instructions below. Follow the instructions below for details relating to the Benefits Package worksheet. For the Cost Share Variances worksheet, see sections 4.11, 4.20–4.22, 4.24, and 4.25 in this chapter.
  • All data fields used by the AVC are identified by a caret (^) next to the field name in the instructions below. See Appendix A for additional AVC instructions.
  • Complete and save the Network, Service Area, and Prescription Drug (QHPs only) Templates before filling out the Plans & Benefits Template. In the Plans & Benefits Template, issuers must assign a network, service area, and formulary ID (QHPs only) to each plan based on the IDs created in these three templates.
  • Complete a separate Benefits Package worksheet for each unique benefits package you wish to offer. To create additional benefits packages, click Create New Benefits Package under the Plans & Benefits Add-In. HIOS Issuer ID, Issuer State, Market Coverage, and Dental Only Plan will auto-populate.
  • Complete a row in the associated Cost Share Variances worksheet for each plan and associated cost sharing reduction (CSR) plan variation offered.
  • The Essential Health Benefit (EHB) percent of total premium calculation should be the multiplicative inverse of the Unified Rate Review Template (URRT) Benefits in Addition to EHB field when rounded to the fourth decimal point (e.g., 1 divided by Benefits in Addition to EHB).
  • The cost sharing entered in the Plans & Benefits Template must reflect what the consumer pays. See Appendix A for how these values relate to AV.
  • Cost sharing and other benefit information included in a plan variant marketing name must accurately reflect plan benefits. For example, a marketing name for a plan variant that requires a $50 copay for specialist visits should not include the phrase, “free specialist visits.”
  • When a cell is grayed out, it is locked and cannot be edited. HIOS will not process data entered into the cell before it was grayed out.
Application Resources

SBC Instructions and Template 

Authorized for use for plan or policy years that begin on or after January 1, 2021.

Issuers offering health insurance coverage on the Exchange must provide applicants, enrollees, and policyholders with an accurate Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). Issuers are required to provide the SBC in a manner compliant with the standards set forth in 45 CFR 147.200, which implements section 2715 of the Public Health Service Act, as added by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically, issuers must fully comply with the requirements of § 147.200(a)(3), which requires issuers to “provide an SBC in the form, and in accordance with the instructions for completing the SBC, that are specified by the Secretary in guidance.” Instructions for completing the SBC are below.
Please refer to the Summary of Benefits and Coverage and Uniform Glossary section of the CCIIO website for additional information, including the approved SBC Template for issuers to use when completing their SBCs. Additional regulatory guidance related to SBCs can be found in the Final 2025 Letter to Issuers.