Summary of Benefits & Coverage & Uniform Glossary
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers and group health plans will provide the 180 million Americans who have private insurance with clear, consistent and comparable information about their health plan benefits and coverage. Specifically, the regulations will ensure consumers have access to two forms that will help them understand and evaluate their health insurance choices. The forms include:
- An easy-to-understand summary of benefits and coverage
- A uniform glossary of terms commonly used in health insurance coverage such as "deductible" and "co-payment"
You can access the forms discussed here in the Other Resources section.
The package of materials posted also includes an example of a completed summary of benefits and coverage, uniform glossary, as well as specific technical information for simulating coverage examples for two benefits scenarios: having a baby and managing type 2 diabetes.
Summary of Benefits and Coverage
Under the law, insurance companies and group health plans will provide consumers with a concise document detailing, in plain language, simple and consistent information about health plan benefits and coverage. This summary of benefits and coverage document will help consumers better understand the coverage they have and, for the first time, allow them to easily compare different coverage options. It will summarize the key features of the plan or coverage, such as the covered benefits, cost-sharing provisions, and coverage limitations and exceptions. People will receive the summary when shopping for coverage, enrolling in coverage, at each new plan year, and within seven business days of requesting a copy from their health insurance issuer or group health plan.
This summary of benefits and coverage will include a new, standardized health plan comparison tool for consumers called “coverage examples,” much like the Nutrition Facts label required for packaged foods. The coverage examples would illustrate how a health insurance policy or plan would cover care for common benefits scenarios. Using clear standards and guidelines provided by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), plans and issuers will simulate claims processing for each scenario so consumers can see an illustration of the coverage they get for their premium dollar under a plan. The examples will help consumers see how valuable the health plan will be at times when they may need the coverage.
Uniform Glossary of Terms
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers will also have a new resource to help them understand some of the most common but confusing jargon used in health insurance. Insurance companies and group health plans will be required to make available upon request a uniform glossary of terms commonly used in health insurance coverage such as “deductible” and “co-payment”. To help ensure the document is easily accessible for consumers, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Labor will also post the glossary on the new health care reform website, www.HealthCare.gov - Opens in a new window and www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform - Opens in a new window.
- March 5, 2020 Information Related to COVID–19 Individual and Small Group Market Insurance Coverage
- March 12, 2020 FAQs on Essential Health Benefits Coverage and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- March 18, 2020 FAQs on Catastrophic Plan Coverage and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- March 24, 2020 FAQs on Availability and Usage of Telehealth Services through Private Health Insurance Coverage in Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- March 24, 2020 Payment and Grace Period Flexibilities Associated with the COVID-19 National Emergency
- March 24, 2020 FAQs on Prescription Drugs and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for Issuers Offering Health Insurance Coverage in the Individual and Small Group Markets
- April 11, 2020 FAQs about Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Implementation
*This document was updated on April 15, 2020, to correct an error in footnote 10 regarding the current end date of the public health emergency related to COVID 19.
- April 13, 2020 Postponement of 2019 Benefit Year HHS-operated Risk Adjustment Data Validation (HHS-RADV)