As of September 23, 2012 or soon after, health insurance issuers and group health plans are required to provide you with an easy-to-understand summary about a health plan’s benefits and coverage. The new regulation is designed to help you better understand and evaluate your health insurance choices.
The new forms include:
All insurance companies and group health plans must use the same standard SBC form to help you compare health plans. The SBC form also includes details, called “coverage examples,” which are comparison tools that allow you to see what the plan would generally cover in two common medical situations. You have the right to receive the SBC when shopping for or enrolling in coverage or if you request a copy from your issuer or group health plan. You may also request a copy of the glossary of terms from your health insurance company or group health plan.
It’s not easy for consumers to know what they are buying when shopping for insurance. The new rules are a joint effort among the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury. The SBC is designed after the Nutrition Facts label required for packaged foods which helps you make healthy and informed decisions about your diet. The SBC’s standardized and easy to understand information about health plan benefits and coverage allows you to more easily make “apples to apples” comparisons among your insurance options. The measure brings more openness to the insurance marketplace for the more than 180 million Americans with private health coverage.