The Department of Labor’s report on employer-sponsored health coverage, submitted Friday, is part of an effort to help the Department of Health and Human Services identify and define essential health benefits that must be offered by qualified health plans.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released this statement following DOL’s report submission:

“I want to thank Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and her staff for submitting this report on employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, as required by the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Care Act ensures Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. To achieve this goal, the law ensures plans offered in the new Health Insurance Exchanges, and in the individual and small group markets, offer a package of essential health benefits that are equal in scope to what employers typically offer today.

“While the law calls on my Department to provide details regarding essential health benefits, this will be a team effort. As we move forward, we will consider the report provided today by the Department of Labor. I have also asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for their recommendations on a process for defining and updating these benefits. The IOM has a long history of providing independent, objective expert guidance to federal agencies and I look forward to reviewing their report in September.

“Most importantly, I look forward to hearing from the American people, doctors, nurses, Members of Congress and all interested stakeholders. Beginning this fall, HHS will launch an effort informed by the IOM’s recommendations to collect public comment and hear directly from all Americans who are interested in sharing their thoughts on this important issue. I’m confident that this process will ensure all Americans have a seat at the table and strengthen our health care system.”

Read the report:

Read the letter from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis: