The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking public commentary through Dec. 26, 2012, on a proposed rule covering Essential Health Benefits (EHB) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

EHB define what health insurance plans must offer under PPACA to be sold through state and federal exchanges, which will begin operating in 2014. In addition, the policies must offer four levels of protection: 60 percent, or bronze; 70 percent, or silver; 80 percent, gold; and 90 percent, platinum.

The percentages relate to the overall financial protection provided by the plan. To illustrate, a bronze plan would pay on average 60 percent of all medical expenses incurred by the insured. The insured would pay the rest through copays, deductibles and premium and other expenses.

Anyone wishing to comment may do so on The relevant file is CMS-9980-P.