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Qualified Health Plans (QHPs)


Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) are health insurance policies that meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are certified by the Health Insurance Marketplace. These plans provide essential health benefits, follow established cost-sharing limits, and have premium rates approved by state or federal regulators. Consumers who purchase a QHP may be eligible for financial assistance based on their income, making healthcare more accessible and affordable.

Key Takeaways

  1. Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) are private insurance plans that meet stringent standards set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Exchange.
  2. QHPs must cover a comprehensive set of essential health benefits, including hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health services. They also must adhere to cost-sharing limits and cannot discriminate based on pre-existing conditions or gender.
  3. Eligible individuals can receive financial assistance in the form of premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions to reduce the cost of QHPs purchased through the Marketplace, making quality health coverage more accessible and affordable.


The term Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) is important in the context of VA benefits as it refers to health insurance plans that provide comprehensive coverage, meeting the standards set by the Affordable Care Act.

These plans, offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace, must cover a specific set of essential health benefits, ensuring veterans receive adequate healthcare services.

For veterans who do not qualify for VA health care or those seeking additional coverage, QHPs provide a vital alternative to access quality healthcare services, often with financial assistance based on their income.

Understanding QHPs enables veterans to make informed decisions when exploring health insurance options outside the VA healthcare system, ensuring they are well-protected and receive the care they need.


Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) serve a crucial purpose in catering to the healthcare needs of veterans, while aiming to increase accessibility and affordability of health insurance options. By complying with the standards outlined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), QHPs play a pivotal role in ensuring comprehensive coverage and a balanced cost-sharing mechanism for veterans.

These plans are available on the Health Insurance Marketplace, enabling eligible individuals to make informed choices based on personal requirements and financial constraints. QHPs include the ten essential health benefit categories and take into account preventive services, maternity and newborn care, mental health services, prescription drug coverage, and more.

For veterans, QHPs are an invaluable resource to maintain their well-being and receive timely medical assistance. Given the unique challenges and sacrifices they have made for the nation, it is essential to provide them with dependable healthcare options.

Making use of Qualified Health Plans not only ensures that veterans receive the care they deserve but also makes certain that their healthcare experience is tailored to cater to their individual needs. Additionally, with financial assistance available for those who qualify, QHPs contribute to the well-being of veterans and their families in a cost-effective manner, reducing out-of-pocket expenses while encouraging timely and essential care.

Examples of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs)

Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) are private insurance plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Here are three real-world examples of QHPs:

Blue Cross Blue Shield: Blue Cross Blue Shield offers various QHPs across the United States to individuals, families, and businesses. These plans are available through the Health Insurance Marketplace and cover essential health benefits, such as hospitalization, prescription medications, and maternity care.

Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser Permanente is a large health insurance provider that offers multiple Qualified Health Plans for individuals and families. These QHPs provide coverage for core health services, including preventive care, emergency services, and mental health treatment. Kaiser Permanente’s QHPs can be purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace in the states they operate.

Aetna: Aetna, another major insurance provider, also offers a variety of QHPs through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Aetna’s QHPs cater to different needs and budgets, with a range of deductibles, co-payments, and out-of-pocket maximums. Like other QHPs, Aetna’s plans cover essential health benefits and adhere to the ACA guidelines.

FAQ: Qualified Health Plans (QHPs)

What is a Qualified Health Plan (QHP)?

A Qualified Health Plan (QHP) is an insurance plan that is certified by the Health Insurance Marketplace, provides essential health benefits, follows established limits on cost-sharing, and meets other requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

How do I know if a plan is a QHP?

A health plan must be certified by the Health Insurance Marketplace in order to be considered a QHP. To find a QHP, individuals can shop for plans on their state’s Marketplace or through the federal Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.

What are the requirements for a plan to be considered a QHP?

To be considered a QHP, a health plan must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide essential health benefits
  • Follow established limits on cost-sharing (like deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximum amounts)
  • Be licensed and in good standing with the state’s insurance department
  • Offer at least one Silver and one Gold plan on the Marketplace
  • Abide by certain marketing restrictions

What benefits are included in a QHP?

QHPs are required to cover a range of essential health benefits that include the following:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

How much does a QHP cost?

The cost of a QHP varies depending on factors such as the region, plan level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum), and the insurance company offering the plan. Additionally, individuals may be eligible for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions that can lower the cost of a QHP, depending on their income and household size.

How do I enroll in a QHP?

Individuals can enroll in a QHP during the annual open enrollment period, typically from November 1 to December 15. Special enrollment periods may also be available for qualifying life events, such as the loss of other health coverage, marriage, or the birth of a child. Enrollment can be done online through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or by contacting the Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Essential Health Benefits (EHBs)
  • Health Insurance Marketplace
  • Premium Tax Credits
  • Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs)

Sources for More Information